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secretary of state visit 2

Stoke Damerel Community College's dementia education work has been described as “inspiring” by the Education Secretary during a visit to the school.

The Rt Hon Nicky Morgan came to Stoke Damerel Community College on 13 March 2015, three days after it was announced that the College’s plans for a 375-place Medical and Healthcare Studio School had been given the green light.

After being given a presentation about the College’s award-winning Dementia Project and the Studio School plans Ms Morgan, who was accompanied by Oliver Colvile MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, joined a dementia croquet session.

The croquet mornings are now a regular event at the College hosted by Year 7 students and attended by local residents, many of whom are living with dementia.

“'It was a pleasure to visit Stoke Damerel today and to hear from some of the students,” said Ms Morgan.

“I am delighted to announce that the school will be working with partners to open a new studio school, preparing the next generation of doctors, nurses and dentists.

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“It was inspiring to hear about the work the school is also doing through the Dementia Project, and to see students playing croquet with some of the older local residents!” added Ms Morgan, who was told more about Jiminy Wicket - the charity croquet initiative - by Andrew Creasey, one of its founders.

Listen to Radio Plymouth's first report about Nicky Morgan's visit

Listen to Radio Plymouth's second report about Nicky Morgan's visit

As well as trying her hand at croquet Ms Morgan met a number of students and heard about recent internship placements at Whitehall and visits to Oxford and Cambridge universities as part of the College’s Excel Programme.

Then followed a Drama lesson and a meeting with trainee teachers who are training at the College as part of the School Direct programme.

College principal Mrs Hannaford said being part of the Education Secretary’s visit to the South West was a “real privilege”.

“We are extremely grateful that she was able to fit a visit to us into an incredibly busy schedule,” said Mrs Hannaford.

“I was struck by the rapport she had with the students who showed her around and I was very impressed by her genuine interest in, and understanding of, the needs of young people.

“We really enjoyed being able to show her just some of the amazing work that goes on here at Stoke Damerel.

“It has been a momentous week at the College so, of course, it was also very special to have representatives of some of our Studio School partners here today as well.”

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The College also welcomed Professor David Bristow and Dr Nick Toms from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry and Plymouth City Council chief executive Tracey Lee as part of the event on 13 March 2015, as well as Ian Sherriff, an Alzheimer’s Society Trustee and Academic Partnership Lead for Dementia, Plymouth University.

“Once again Stoke Damerel Community College has been recognised at the highest level, and rightly so,” said Mr Sherriff.

“Over the past three years they have taken the mantle of dementia education and turned words into action.

“Last year they were a winner in the inaugural Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly Awards and most recently the College was highlighted as an exemplar school in the Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia 2020.

“I’m very proud to have been on this journey with them – a journey I think will continue for many years to come.”

Year 7 student Jessie accompanied Ms Morgan on her tour of the school and said it was “very exciting” to have met her.

“You don’t normally get to meet such an important person – it’s not something that everyone gets to do,” said Jessie, 11.

“I’m glad she came to the croquet because I really enjoy it – I like getting to know the older people who come and look forward to seeing them the next time.”


Find out more about Studio Schools:

Studio Schools Trust

What Is A Studio School?


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