Charlie Butler, a pupil at Fitzwaryn School, in Wantage, excitedly told John Bercow he regularly watches broadcasts of his hero – because he loves to hear him calling out his famous chant: “Order! Order!”
“I watch YouTube videos of the Speaker all the time,” said Charlie, 12, who attends the school with his twin brother Tom.
“I recently watched one from seven years’ ago, because I just love the way he talks to MPs.”
The boys were among 20 students with moderate learning difficulties who had the chance to quiz the Speaker about every aspect of his work, during an hour-long session to boost their understanding of British values and democracy.
The Speaker explained that while he is the “referee” in the Commons, a highlight of his role had been hosting visiting dignitaries, such as former US President Barack Obama.
Fitzwaryn teacher Alexandra Miller said the visit had heightened student interest in the school council.
“It was so wonderful for our pupils to have the opportunity to meet and ask questions of the Speaker, especially as spoke in such an engaging and interesting way,” she said.
Mr Bercow also addressed 200 students at Didcot Girls’ School (DGS) and 56 pupils at The Hendreds primary school, as part of his educational outreach programme.
He told DGS students he is on a mission to attract more women and black, Asian and minority ethnic people to positions of leadership in Parliament – and faced questions about why politics is such a male-led career, how hard it is to be impartial and his most memorable debate.
One questioner, 11-year-old Edie Jones, said she had been lucky enough to watch Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons - and found the Speaker “very funny”.
“His chat to us certainly brought politics alive and made me more interested in the subject,” she said.
DGS headteacher Tom Goodenough said the Speaker’s visit was a highlight of his five years at the school.
“Our students were completely inspired by his positive message about aspiring to a role in life you love and can commit yourself to absolutely,” he said.
“His support for young people, for education and for equality were equally inspiring for students to hear from someone at the heart of UK politics.”
At The Hendreds school, Mr Bercow encouraged children to think about what they want to do for a living in the future – and to make sure it is something that gives them great joy.
“I feel very lucky I do something that I love – and that’s my over-riding message to you,” he told the pupils in East Hendred.
“We spend about a third of our lives in work, so it’s very important you do something for a living that you enjoy for its own sake – don’t let anybody say you can’t succeed.
“Keep trying, don’t give up, don’t get dispirited, don’t think that you’ve lost. Instead you should persist, persist, persist.”
Image: Parliamentary Copyright/Jessica Taylor