Mr Brown met pupils who gave up part of their half-term break
Gordon Brown has held his first Cabinet meeting in a school during a visit by his ministers to Durham.
The prime minister was shown round the £24m Durham Johnston School on Thursday by pupils who gave up part of their half-term holiday.
Security was tight at the school in the Crossgate Moor area of the city, with a strong police presence outside.
The Conservatives have accused Labour of using the taxpayer-funded regional Cabinet meetings for electioneering.
Mr Brown looked impressed with the modern facilities at the 1,500-pupil school on the outskirts of Durham City.
Officially opening the school, he said: "It is the first time the Cabinet has ever met in a school. It is the first time the Cabinet has ever met in the North East.
"I am very pleased to do so at what is an absolutely brilliant school. It is a real privilege for us to be here."
The prime minister watched chemistry students carry out an experiment using Bunsen burners, then chatted to year nine pupils in the library.
Mr Brown introduced the idea of holding the meetings outside Westminster in September 2008, when Birmingham hosted the first such regional gathering since 1921.