Back to school for MP as he talks the talk

IT was the corridors of his former secondary school rather than those of Westminster, which Borders MP and Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore, found himself stalking on Friday.

But the Lib Dem MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk, was more than happy to return to Jedburgh Grammar School for the launch of a new Scottish branch of an educational charity.

The brainchild of BBC Business Editor Robert Peston, the Speakers for School programme is aimed at giving young people in state schools and colleges across the UK the same opportunities to hear from inspirational speakers as those who attend top independent schools.

Leaders in Scottish business, media culture, academia and politics have pledged to give a talk to students in a state secondary school once a year and Mr Moore was giving the charity’s first speech in Scotland.

Afterwards he took part in a question-and-answer session with pupils, before enjoying a tour of the school.

Mr Moore told us: “Young people today face many challenges and uncertainties, so it is absolutely vital that they are given the guidance they need as they make important decisions about their future.

“The Speakers for Schools charity ensures that state school pupils are able to hear from distinguished and inspirational speakers like their private school counterparts and learn about the opportunities available to them.”

In his talk, Mr Moore focused on his reasons for pursuing politics as a career and the people who inspired and helped him achieve his goals – alongside some recollections of his days at Jedburgh Grammar.

School rector Kevin Ryalls says the event had certainly grabbed his pupils’ attention.

“Having someone, who is a current cabinet minister and a former pupil, to come and talk to our pupils was a fantastic opportunity,” he said.

“It was a really positive experience and Michael’s message to the pupils was basically ‘go for it’ and have no regrets.

“And having someone who can speak in such an open, engaging and humourous manner was very important.”