Students from Barry Comprehensive received a special guest at the school last week. Chris Wilkins, the Prime Minister’s director of strategy, popped in to the school directly from Number 10 to give a talk to Year 10 pupils with an interest in politics and current affairs.
Mr Wilkins, a former Barry Comprehensive pupil himself, was appointed by Theresa May last year and was invited to the school by Vale MP Alun Cairns to discuss his inspiring journey to the centre of British politics.
Headteacher Gerard McNamara, along with former head of history Malcolm Phillips, joined Mr Wilkins for a ‘Cabinet’ style meeting with the Year 10 pupils. He explained how a passion for politics can develop into a wide variety of careers and spoke at length about the role of working directly for the Prime Minister during a remarkable period in recent history.
Vale MP Mr Cairns also explained how his role as MP and Cabinet minister has developed and how closely he works with the Prime Minister’s team on Welsh and broader policy issues.
Mr Cairns said: “Visiting schools in my constituency is one of the highlights of being an MP in the Vale. It was particularly enjoyable and inspiring to welcome my colleague and one of the Prime Minister’s closest advisers to his former school.
“The pupils were very knowledgeable on the important issues of the day in British and international politics and asked a number of topical questions after Chris had given them a fascinating view of life inside Downing Street. I had the opportunity to explain how the role of Secretary of State for Wales fits within the Cabinet and how the UK Government aims to build a fairer society where success is based on merit, not privilege.”
Headteacher Mr McNamara said: “All of the pupils found the discussion with Chris and our local MP very interesting. We feel a sense of pride that a former Barry Comprehensive pupil is now at the heart of British politics and working so closely with the Prime Minister.
“It goes to show how passion, channelled in the right direction, can provide many routes to success. It was clear to me that such an inspiring story has given motivation to all of our pupils no matter what profession they go on to choose in their careers.”