Miliband meets the JCoSS ministerial team

Ed Miliband with pupils

Ed Miliband with pupils

Ed Miliband enjoyed a cordial meeting with the prime minister and deputy prime minister this week - or at least the JCoSS equivalents.

The Labour leader visited the cross-communal secondary school in Barnet to hear from members of its student set-up. "We even have a monarch - the head teacher," said year-eight student, Jamy Bristol-James.

The pupils took Mr Miliband through the workings of the student government, from the role of the whips to the innovations brought in by its sports minister. He was also given a tour of the school, which opened last year and now has two year-groups attending classes.

Mr Miliband asked students about Jewish life at the school and how they felt to be among its first pupils.

"It's a place where everyone can be who they want," said student deputy leader Zachary Letzer. "And everyone has respect for each other." Told that JCoSS ministers could give feedback to teachers, Mr Miliband urged them to be "nice and diplomatic about it".

He said he was delighted to visit the school and "very, very impressed" by the pupils' presentations and their passion for learning. "I was not really as impressive as you at that age," he confided. "I would encourage you to go into politics." He said it was clear that JCoSS provided "an excellent environment for students to learn" and "an excellent education".

He did voice surprise that prime minister Indigo Smith had kept quiet throughout the event. "I don't think David Cameron would let Nick Clegg do the talking for him. You're much nicer than him."

But her silence was only temporary. She planned to lead the discussion when Education Secretary Michael Gove visited JCoSS.

Last updated: 1:38pm, January 26 2012