5:30pm Friday 4th July 2014
By Anna Slater
Education Secretary Michael Gove shared a joke with teachers and pupils when he visited a school this afternoon.
Mr Gove, along with Conservative MP Matthew Offord, took part in lessons at Mill Hill County School in Worcester Crescent.
He was given a quick tour of the school before sitting in on a GCSE French class, where he put his own language skills to the test.
Much to the delight of the pupils, he addressed their teacher in French and told her she was "marvellous".
The next lesson on the timetable was RE, where he listened in on pupils learning about Muslim culture.
After the tour, the Times Series quizzed him about school places in the borough. This year, the authority received 5,029 applications for primary school places and 92 per cent of pupils have received one of their top choice three schools.
He said: “More than half of the money we’ve put in for school places has gone to London – Barnet has received £55m of that.
“It’s there to allow our schools to expand.
“We know since 2003, we were living through a big increase in people applying for places and the previous government did not plan for this bulge in numbers.
Mr Gove also praised the free school provision, which allows parent and groups to set up schools, which will not be controlled by the local authority.
He added: “Without the free school provision, I don’t think we’d have been able to see as many places created.”
Mr Offord also explained how Barnet has created 7,852 places in the last five years.
Speaking about his experience at Mill Hill, Mr Gove added: “I loved it. I was invited here by Matthew, who said I’d love it and I have.
“I’ve enjoyed meeting children from all backgrounds here. I’m happy to have seen the school.”
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