At our recent Governors’ meeting, I’d shown interest in coming in to school to have a look at how themed assemblies worked. The School Council invited me in to the Year 10 assembly, debating whether or not the UK should continue to give foreign aid. Alex was at reception to greet me and on our way over to the hall we got talking about the topic .He very clearly indicated that the school council were thinking of looking at the question of whether or not voting should be allowed at 16, but he went on to say they decided against it. “Not enough “meat” in that----just a “yes” or “no” really”.
OK then, I was in for an interesting debate on this tricky question of foreign aid.
I was not disappointed. Six well-prepared, persuasive Year 10 students addressed the rest of their peers in true debating style, cajoling, offering up-to-date statistics, chucking in the recent charities scandal—no holds barred. It was a real hustings of an affair, with mics and lights for effect. It was explained by Beth Jelpke, Chair of Student Council, that on Friday lunch time there would be voting boxes in the hall foyer where every student in the school could cast their vote, and they do, enthusiastically. In the meantime, Years 7, 8 and 9 will have similar assemblies on the theme, each one led by members of their own year group. “To make the message more powerful and personal” said Beth.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the assembly and huge congratulations to those that set it up and took part. I left feeling very thoughtful; the question of foreign aid is not as straightforward as perhaps it might appear. I am very impressed and heartened to see and hear articulate young people getting involved in the issues of the day and having their voice heard. Chatting to the sixth form student councillors I was truly engaged. Here are tomorrow’s citizens. Watch out world—they mean real business! Please invite me back - I loved it.