North Shields primary pupils quiz their Labour candidate ahead of General Election

Caring children from North Shields had the opportunity to question MP Sir Alan Campbell during a visit to their school, one of his last appointments before next week’s General Election.

The children from Year 6 at St Cuthbert’s Catholic Primary School quizzed him about mental health support provision for young people. All MPs are now candidates for the coming election, if they are standing.

The meeting was arranged by the pupils who had been campaigning for Fund the Hubs – an initiative to improve support for children and young people with mental health issues.

Sir Alan visited classes across the school, a member of the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust, which holds a UNICEF Rights Respecting Gold Award for its child-rights approach.

“The children invited him because they are passionate about all children and young people deserving good quality support when needed, as part of the Fund the Hubs campaign,” said Headteacher Shaun Dillon. 

“Fund the Hubs is led by the Young Minds charity, and over 5,000 young people have signed a letter which has been sent to Downing Street calling for early support hubs for young people.

“Sir Alan met with all the children and staff at the school and took part in a question and answer session with Key Stage 2 where he responded to their concerns about support for children’s mental health.”

The visit also enabled the children to find out more about the democratic process, which they had been studying during the recent local elections.

“Our whole school had been using the book The Election to learn about the democratic process and link it to the local elections,” continued Mr Dillon. 

“Our children understand that different people support different political parties and that political parties need to campaign in order to win votes, and Sir Alan explained the process in lots more detail.

“He talked to them about the democratic process, elections, the role of MPs and Government, serving your community, and children’s rights based on the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Award.

“He was also delighted that St Cuthbert’s has three Mental Health Leads and that children, families and staff do so much work around mental health and wellbeing, and that it is at the heart of everything St Cuthbert’s does.”

Other causes successfully supported by St Cuthbert’s include the introduction of a safe road crossing outside the school, provision of bins for dog walkers in the area, and the restoration of a nearby play park.

“Visits like this confirm to our children that they have rights and they have a voice which adults listen to and respond to,” added Mr Dillon. 

Candidates for the Tynemouth constituency on July 4 are: John Appleby (LD), Lewis Bartoli (Conservative), Sir Alan Campbell (Labour), Rosalyn Elliot (Reform), Christopher Greener (Independent), Kelly Oliver Dougall (Party of Women), Mustaque Rahman (Independent), Chloe-Louise Reilly (Green) and Adam Thewlis (Heritage Party).

Pic: Barking Dog Media/Kate Buckingham