The team at Potential Plus UK was delighted to welcome local MP Iain Stewart to their office and assessment centre in Milton Keynes. Chief Executive, Julie Taplin, had written to Iain at the time of the cancellation of the Future Talent Fund by the Department for Education, explaining the charity’s disappointment that this essential funding for disadvantaged, high potential students was no longer going ahead and the loss of positive impact for talented young people that it would have. Although invited to attend the Above and Beyond Awards ceremony in Birmingham, Iain was unable to attend due to the other commitments that MPs are facing at present [for readers years from now: Brexit!]. Therefore, it was a welcome surprise that Iain found time to visit us last week.

During the visit Julie described how children and young adults with high learning potential frequently miss out on the support they so desperately need, because their cognitive or creative capabilities mask a genuine need for help. Iain heard how Potential Plus UK helps them, their parents and their schools to understand their educational and well-being needs, so that they can thrive and excel to everyone’s benefit.

It was opportune that a family with a bouncy 5-year-old was at the centre for an educational assessment, so Iain was able to witness a future civil engineer for HS2 at work building a complex train track on the floor of the family waiting area. Mum also explained to Iain why they had taken the decision to have an assessment. Their wish was to have a better understanding of their child’s learning profile prior to any changes in schooling; areas of strength that would benefit from challenge and to discover any relatively weaker areas that might create frustrations or need support in any learning environment.

One of Potential Plus UK’s objectives is to raise awareness of the needs of children and young people with high learning potential. We are looking forward to building on this connection with local MP Iain Stewart; maintaining communication with him on issues of interest and concern.