Schoolchildren have come up with a list of simple ways to ensure youngsters all over the world are given the education they deserve.
Now they have asked the Prime Minister to put their plans into effect.
Holbrook Primary School was one of more than 4,400 schools across the country to take part in the Send My Friend To School action day on June 26.
The day saw youngsters call on global leaders to make good on the promises made at the 2000 Global Summit that all the world’s children should get the chance to go to school.
Horsham MP Jeremy Quin was invited to a special assembly at the school, in Holbrook School Lane, to collect the children’s messages which he pledged to personally deliver to Downing Street.
Of all the reports, documents and messages to cross David Cameron’s desk in the past few weeks, none were likely to be as eye-catching or heartfelt as those from Holbrook.
Written on ‘world leader-shaped’ cards, the messages told the PM what each child would do to help, if they were in charge.
Many of their views recognised the gender, religious and health inequalities faced in some countries.
Georgie Milborrow, 10, said: “I would give boys and girls an equal chance of going to school” while Georgia Coles, 10, added: “I would make sure children with disabilities have an equal chance of going to school.”
Caitlin Mulligan, 11, said: “I would allow everyone to go to school, regardless of race, belief or gender.”
Connor Brennan, 8, and Emlin Paul, 8, called for more of the basic essentials.
Connor said: “I would build more schools” and Emlin said: “I would train more teachers”.
They were backed by Holly Geale, 8, and Holly Evans, 9, who said they would “repair roads and bridges so that the journey to school is safe”.
Ellie Geohegan, 11, added: “I would give materials to build schools and provide textbooks, pens and pencils.”
Mr Quin said: “The messages were brilliant – including posters created at home.
“It was also great to hear the pupils talk through what they wanted for other children around the world in front of the whole assembly.
“All the messages are being personally delivered to No 10 Downing Street.”
Teacher Harriet Mayo said the children had been learning about the experiences of youngsters around the world and the reasons they had been denied an education.
Some 58 million children worldwide do not have a school place. While many youngsters might jump for joy at the idea of not having to go to lessons, the Holbrook students came up with a long list of things they would miss if they couldn’t go to school.
These included: learning different sports and musical instruments, having a chance to go to university and get a good job and learning about the world around them.
Staff were no doubt delighted to find out “having great teachers to help us learn” was also on the list!
Ms Mayo added: “It was great to be able to pass on these messages to Mr Quin and feel that our voices, however small, may join those of other UK schools and be part of a such an important campaign.”
Headteacher Ian Holmes said: “The whole school have been learning about the barriers to education affecting millions of children in the developing world.
“It has been great to see how much they have enjoyed stepping into the shoes of world leaders and trying to make a difference for children that don’t have the same opportunities they have.”
Send My Friend to School, which is part of the Global Campaign for Education, said on its website: “World leaders need to make education a priority, and make sure all children get the chance to go to school.
“This means that some countries need to provide the aid they promised, others need to make sure the aid gets spent on education, and many need to spend more of their own money on schools and teachers.”
The Global Campaign for Education said the UK Government could make a difference by:
Making sure the promises to provide overseas aid to education are delivered;
Working with other rich countries to get money to where it is most needed;
Using its influence to make sure the amount of money poor countries are able to spend on education is increased.
Mr Quin said he had been “delighted” to visit Holbrook Primary.
He explained the UN objective to ensure every child in the world had the benefit of a proper primary education, had been expected to be honoured by this year.
He added: “The UK gives more of our output in aid than any other major country – if others matched our commitment a huge amount more could be achieved which would benefit everyone.”
The final word, though, went to Oliver Menhennett, of Year 3, who discovered his inner poet and said: “School is ace! Everyone deserves a place!”
To find out more, log on to www.sendmyfriend.org
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