Veteran MP Dame Margaret Hodge has awarded ‘badges of office’ to pupils at a  Barking school who have been elected by their classmates to be their ambassadors on school issues.

The ambassadors are like Members of Parliament — but at a classroom level. Now they were meeting a real MP.

Thames View Junior School headteacher James Smith played host when Dame Margaret dropped into the school in Bastable Avenue to present the badges to the young ambassadors.

Some pupils even managed to get commemorative selfies with the MP, who held several ministerial posts in Tony Blair’s Labour government between 2007 and 2010 including education, industry, culture and work and pensions.

Dame Margaret, who has been MP for Barking since 1994, found herself facing the school’s version of parliamentary Question Time when she was quizzed on what it was like at Westminster and about living in a democratic society.

The children have developed “a good understanding of the democratic process” in making changes, the school points out.

Each class elects two ambassadors to present issues in weekly meetings with deputy head Sandeep Sanghera, like a school council giving the youngsters a taste for politics and public affairs.

The “stimulating and engaging” curriculum at Thames View Junior, with its 340 pupils aged three to 11, aims to give pupils an understanding to prepare them for the adult world. Politics, they are learning, is part of that world.

Now they were taking inspiration from the MP with questions about the House of Commons. She told the youngsters that everyone can be in politics no matter where they came from or even what they looked like.

One staff member remarked that the teachers were surprised at the youngsters’ keen interest in politics.

Then came a personal question about her age and Dame Margaret responded humorously that it was a while back since she celebrated the 50th anniversary of turning 21.

She is stepping down as Barking MP at the next general election.