Torridge and West Devon’s MP visited Shebbear’s Little Bears Pre-School and Shebbear Primary School last week. 

The MP regularly visits local schools to catch up with their progress, listen to their principals about the issues affecting the school and talk to pupils and teachers.

The MP’s own children went to his village school in West Devon and our small rural schools are close to his heart. Having promised he would visit at his Shebbear surgery over the summer, the MP was keen to speak to Nick Alford, the Principal, about Shebbear Primary

School’s progress in the core subjects such as reading, since the school was rated “Good” by OFSTED in May 2022.

The MP first dropped in the Little Bears Pre-School to talk to staff and hear how the nursery was getting on. He was then escorted around the school by principal, Nick Alford, and stopped off in several classes to listen to the lessons and talk to the children, finishing off with a question and answer session in which Sir Geoffrey was grilled on issues of the day.

Sir Geoffrey said: “I am very proud of our village schools, which are essential to the life of our small rural communities. I’m also proud of how standards are improving.

“Since 2010, the proportion of schools rated good or outstanding by Ofsted has increased from 68 per cent to 88 per cent based on latest data and England is ranked 11th in the world for maths (up from 27th in 2009) and 13th for reading, higher in both than the United States, and higher than any EU country other than Finland and Estonia. England came 4th internationally for primary school reading proficiency in the International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) results.

“I very much enjoyed the friendly atmosphere of both the Pre-School and the Primary School and the infectious enthusiasm of the children in their lessons. We finished with a lively question and answer session from budding Jeremy Paxmans. My thanks to all!”