Fakenham student secures work experience at 10 Downing Street

For many students a work experience placement will involve stacking shelves in a supermarket, photocopying and filing in an office or helping out at a local school.

A pupil from Fakenham High School will, however, be wondering the corridors of power after securing a week-long placement at 10 Downing Street.

Emilia Symington, 15, wrote directly to Prime Minister David Cameron and was amazed to receive a reply saying that she has been accepted.

She received a letter from Chris Roust, from the direct communications unit at 10 Downing Street and will undertake her placement between August 15 and August 19.

Miss Symington, who lives in Harpley, between Fakenham and King's Lynn, said: 'When work experience came up me and a few friends were joking around saying that we should write to some really important people like Barack Obama and I wrote to David Cameron.

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'I said in my letter that I think there should be more women involved in politics in this country and more people from state school backgrounds.

'I never really expected to get a reply so I was amazed when they wrote back to me and told me that I'd been accepted.

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'I've not been told what I will be doing but they said that I won't be sitting around drinking cups of tea and photocopying, but that I will get a full taste of life at 10 Downing Street.

'I'm really excited about it and I hope to be able to meet Mr Cameron.

'I've pretty much just been told to turn up at 10 Downing Street on August 15 and that the dress code is smart/ casual.

'I guess there will be back entrance for me to go in as I can't imagine turning up and knocking on the famous door. I'm going to go shopping with my mum and dad soon for some clothes to wear for it.'

Miss Symington said she has recently developed an interest in politics and enjoyed lively discussions with her friends during the general election last year.

She said: 'My friends thought I was joking when I told them I would be going to Downing Street but it just shows you that you shouldn't be afraid to be positive and just go for the things you want to do.

'I'm interested in a career in politics. I would particularly like to see politics cleaned up because it has a very bad reputation at the moment, after the expenses scandal. But I'm keeping my options open and don't want to rush in to anything.'

Miss Symington has even written to the Queen enquiring about work experience at Buckingham Palace and was told to contact them again when she is 16.

She said she will travel to London with her parents and said will probably stay in a hotel for the week.

She may be privy to confidential information during her stay and have to sign the Official Secrets Act.

Matthew Parr-Burman, head teacher of Fakenham High School, said: 'This is an amazing opportunity for Emilia and it just shows what can be achieved with a bit of ingenuity and get-up-and-go.

'She has high expectations and anyone at the school could have done the same thing as her, so I hope she inspires others.'

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