Member of Parliament for Newbury Laura Farris talks about touring secondary schools in the area. She writes:

IF A week is a long time in politics, a month feels like a lifetime.

Since I last wrote for the Chronicle, I have been elected to serve on the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee. A Select Committee is a designated Parliamentary Committee comprised of Labour and Conservative MPs whose work is to scrutinise and examine the work of the Home Office.

We are chaired by Yvette Cooper MP.

This year, there is much at stake. A new funding formula for the police, the complete overhaul of immigration laws, enhanced powers in countering terrorism, and dealing with pernicious criminality such as child sexual exploitation and county lines.

All of this will require the focus and scrutiny of the Committee and I am pleased that Newbury will have a voice at the table.

Secondly, I have been elected Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Environment. This is a less formal grouping which brings together MPs from across the political spectrum according to shared interest.

Protecting our environment and taking steps to address climate change is one of my core priorities as Newbury’s MP and I am glad I can voice the urgency and enthusiasm with which this issue is championed locally, on the national stage.

Finally, in Newbury I have begun my tour of secondary schools. Over the coming weeks, I will be visiting every secondary and meeting headteachers to discuss their concerns and find out how I can support offer as their new MP. In West Berkshire, we are fortunate enough that over 95per cent of our schools are rated as Good or Outstanding, but this doesn’t tell the whole story.

I want to find out about the pressures on staff and pupils, how pupil performance has changed, how facilities are improving (or perhaps require improvement), what is working, what isn’t and what challenges lie ahead.

I think it is fundamental to my job as an MP that school leaders can speak to me as openly as they want, and I will always champion their needs.

Over the next five years, I will be maintaining a close working relationship with Heads and governing bodies, to ensure that we can build on the successes of which I am so proud.