SCHOOL high-flyers met Tory party leader Michael Howard when he visited Brighouse yesterday.
Pupils studying aviation, youngsters who have pressed a Christmas CD, student journalists and visually impaired children making strides in mainstream classes showcased the rich educational culture on offer at Brighouse High.
`Top politician comes to Brighouse High School' was the headline in the school newspaper just minutes after the Conservative party leader stepped from his battle bus and began chatting to pupils and staff.
Mr Howard was in Brighouse as part of a wider sweep of Durham, Leeds and Bradford.
His day focused on education and law and order.
He said: "I'm passionate about improving standards in education. We have got lessons to learn from good schools."
He devoted two hours to a relaxed fact-finding tour of the busy and successful Brighouse High.
After greeting awaiting VIP's he lost no time in speaking to 13-year-old pupil Alex Barnes.
Although visually impaired, Alex uses high- tech software in classes to keep up with schoolmates.
Mr Howard then went on to learn how Brighouse High was the first school in West Yorkshire to attain specialist business and enterprise status.
Children regularly get the chance to speak with business and industry leaders and are encouraged to work with community groups and to travel out of school to learn and get involved with people they would otherwise never meet.
An art outreach project was on display in the school library. Teenage pupils have been teaching painting skills to nursery children.
Teacher Angela Vickerson explained: "It's about self- confidence and self-esteem and gaining skills you might otherwise not. I don't think pupils really know what they can do until you put them in a certain situation."
Lauren O'Malley, 13, said of teaching the toddlers: "I think it has helped us and them learning to associate with other people of different ages. I haven't really worked with younger children before."
Aviation is currently on offer to pupils taking an evening class at Brighouse. From September, the subject is due to appear on the A-level curriculum thanks to maths teacher Adam Chowdhury, who will create the syllabus for the entirely new subject.
James Brewerton, 16, hopes to become a pilot one day. He is part-way to gaining his licence.
He said: "I want to go into the RAF but failing that I'd be happy to be commercial pilot."
Mr Howard spent some time happily signing autographs for young fans, watched by head teacher Mr Graham Soles.
"It has been wonderful for the youngsters," said Mr Soles.