Students quiz election candidates on the issues they care about

Thursday 30 April 2015

On 24 April a selection of students from year 8 through to sixth form took to the floor to challenge six Bermondsey & Old Southwark election candidates, on the issues they care about in a debate, superbly chaired by Head Girl, Zareen. 

The students were brilliant at questioning the candidates and showed their passion for local and national issues with questions such as; Where do you stand on what is happening on the Aylesbury Estate?  Reflecting on the recent migrant boat disaster, what are your views on immigration policy? And the one that caused the most interest by Ryan, Year 12; We are encouraged to learn from our mistakes at Globe Academy. With this in mind have you ever done anything that you regret in life?  

The questioning didn’t stop in the debate; afterwards students were keen to grill the candidates further with some of them needing to be encouraged by staff to let the candidates go home.

The candidates who attended the session were Simon Hughes, Liberal Democrats, Neil Coyle, Labour, Lucy Hall, Independent, Andrew Beadle, UKIP, Steve Freeman, Republican Socialist Party and Kingsley Abrams, Southwark Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition.  

Zareen, Head Girl, who chaired the debate said: "Being Chair was terrifying but exciting. I feel like people think that young people aren't engaged in politics and so they're discounted. However events like this debate show that students at Ark Globe are interested and gives us a chance to have our views listened to.”

Ryan, Year 12, said: “It was interesting to see how the politicians really aren’t afraid to go at each other and I enjoyed having the opportunity to hear from the smaller parties.”

Matt Jones, Principal said: “It’s incredibly important to engage our students with politics to show them that they have a critical role to play in democracy. Our young people are the next leaders of their communities and these valuable events give them the opportunity to get their views heard on what really matters to them.”

With the Bermondsey & Old Southwark constituency battle proving to be one of the closest of the election this was an interesting debate. It gave students a chance to actively participate in politics and put the voice of young citizens at the forefront of local and national politics.

It is not only at this debate that the students showed their passion for politics. Election fever has hit the academy and the corridors are currently full with talk of politics and policies. Students will be staging a mock general election on Thursday 7 May and in the run up to their May vote students will be creating Party broadcasts, holding a live student debate and taking part in playground hustings.

The students’ behaviour was exemplary throughout the debate respecting each party’s response to the questions regardless of whether they really disagreed with what was being said.