MP impressed by high quality of students’ technology work

MP Chloe Smith visits Hellesdon Academy's technology department. Chloe Smith with Leanne Etheridge,

MP Chloe Smith visits Hellesdon Academy's technology department. Chloe Smith with Leanne Etheridge, 16, and the bird pavilion she is building. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

A high school's technology department has won praise from a former government minister after she saw students doing hands on work.

North Norwich MP Chloe Smith visited Hellesdon High School technology department to see first-hand the students in action.

She said: 'This is a really impressive department running courses that are practical and challenging and utterly inspire the students who take them.

'I think it's really important for a school to value vocational skills alongside the core academic curriculum and the technology department shows that in action.'

She added: 'I was really pleased to meet people who are doing technology courses for a range of different reasons. One young man is looking at becoming a highly-qualified engineer, whilst others are really loving doing painting and decorating and others are finding their thing in hair dressing courses.

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'I think to have that range available, alongside all the other academic things the school does, is very positive.'

Ms Smith, whose father is a furniture maker and mother is a textiles teacher, added: 'I absolutely loved the technology subjects at school, particularly because of reasons of my background.

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'I loved both of those subjects and was really lucky to have a creative background like that at home.'

She was given a tour by Paul Duncan, director of technology, where she saw the range of diverse courses available and how high-quality provision has raised attainment and opportunities for students.

The school said this has been of great benefit to the local community with skilled individuals in a range of technological disciplines including engineering and construction.

The MP also met GCSE and A-level students and see the projects that they are currently working on.

Mr Duncan said: 'Following a press article on an engineering competition held in the technology department, it was an honour to receive a letter from Chloe expressing her interest to visit the department and share in the students achievements.

'The broad range of courses including GCSE, vocational and A-level, provides personalised pathways for all individuals to progress into jobs, careers and further education. From GCSE students moving onto A-level product design courses, including scholarships in engineering to construction and hair and beauty study that enables entry onto apprenticeship schemes.'

Do schools strike the right balance between academic and vocational qualifications? Email

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