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EXCLUSIVE: David Miliband’s first day at school

PUBLISHED: 12:02 03 February 2011

David Miliband@Haverstock School

David Miliband@Haverstock School

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Former foreign secretary David Miliband taught his first A-level politics lesson at Haverstock this week to “give something back” to the school he attended 27 years ago.

Mr Miliband stepped down from frontline politics in September after narrowly losing the Labour leadership race to his younger brother Ed.

He returned to the Chalk Farm comprehensive to teach a government and politics lesson which included a discussion on the prime minister’s powers and the cabinet’s role.

He will continue to teach the class on a fortnightly basis.

“We discussed how empathy, teamwork and judgement can make a good politician,” the Primrose Hill resident said after the lesson.

“We never had government and politics – there is a much more interesting range of courses now.

“I have reasonably fond, if fading memories of my time here. It was quite a tough school and I really struggled with my A-levels, particularly with physics.’’

On the AS-level lesson, Mr Miliband added: “It’s slightly different to speaking at the UN General Assembly – but you’ve got 14 penetrating eyes looking at you in a friendly, if quizzical, way. I think my job is to help give those eyes a bit of inspiration.”

The Labour MP for South Shields said that, since quitting frontline politics, he had decided to invest time in his family.

But he is also keen to expand his horizons and volunteering at Haverstock is a way of connecting with younger generations, he said.

“I thought it was a really nice way of putting something back into a school that I’d been part of 27 years ago.”

“It is also a way of me reconnecting with a set of people who are 30 years younger than I am and whose world, with the best will in the world, I might not know as well as I’d like to.

“To be able to talk to them about a subject that they’re interested in and one I’ve got experience of is a nice way of giving something back.

“Being an MP is an important job and one which you take very seriously.

“But I’m at time in my life when I need to invest time in my family and in my own personal development because you want to be growing as a person through the activities that you do and stretching yourself in new areas.”

Haverstock headteacher John Dowd said Mr Miliband had taught the lesson with the government and politics teacher.

“The students were really looking forward to it. They couldn’t believe their luck.

“They are very motivated to learn and they chose government and politics because they are genuinely interested in the world.

“But to have a statesman who is internationally renowned to come and teach them is an opportunity which no students get.”

After visiting Haverstock, Mr Miliband travelled to Sunderland where he confirmed his role as non-executive vice-chairman of Sunderland Football Club.


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