Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson paid a visit to a St Leonards school today (Thursday, March 8).
He chatted to pupils and staff at St Leonard’s Church of England Primary Academy in Collinswood Drive.
Mr Johnson said providing every girl with at least 12 years of quality education would solve many of the world’s problems.
The MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip made the remarks during the impromptu trip to mark International Women’s Day.
Mr Johnson spoke to more than 100 pupils about his international campaign to persuade every government to deliver a minimum of 12 years of quality schooling for every girl by 2030.
He said: “Globally 130 million girls are not in school and in conflict zones, girls are two and a half times more likely to be out of school than boys.
“Archaic groups like Boko Haram act with impunity kidnapping girls just because they want to learn.
“When we empower girls to read and write and have the skills not only to survive but thrive, countries are healthier, more prosperous and crucially more stable.
“Young people make up 60 per cent of the Commonwealth, that’s why during the Commonwealth Summit I will call on leaders to prioritise girls’ education to ensure that no girl is left behind, because educating girls is the single most powerful spur to development.”
The Foreign Secretary also took part in a Connecting Classrooms session about the links between St Leonards and its sister school in Sierra Leone.
Connecting Classrooms is a UK aid backed programme that connects 31,000 schools in more than 50 countries to help children experience other cultures, learn from one another and become good global citizens.
Marie Burgess, headteacher, said: “We were pleased to welcome the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. During his visit he met with staff and pupils from across the school to discuss our links with Sierra Leone, gender equality and education for girls.
“He took part in a round-table discussion with year 6 pupils on gender equality. In year 1 he got down on the floor with the children as they discussed the challenges of life in Sierra Leone. In year 5 he joined in with discussions around inspirational women. He particularly like a painting one of the children completed of Theresa May.
“As he was leaving our athletics team arrived back at school after winning bronze at the Sussex Sports Hall Championships.
“He took time to talk to them about their achievements in sport and his experiences at school.
“During the visit he really took time to listen to the children’s thoughts feelings and ideas.”