School students quiz councillors at Question Time debate (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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School students quiz councillors at Question Time debate
A Question Time-style debate was held today at a school as part of Local Democracy Week.
Sixth-form pupils from Oaks Park High School, on Oaks Lane, Ilford, took part in the debate, which saw a panel made up of councillors from four political parties.
The pupils were able to explore issues which concerned them the most and put the best questions to the councillors, who included LibDem Cllr Ian Bond, Conservative Cllr Keith Prince, Labour Cllr Wes Streeting and Independent Cllr Harry Moth.
Sixth-form secretary, Paula Sumray, said: “It went really well, all the children were whooping and clapping and cheering and got really involved.”
Questions asked by the children included, “What will your party do to help under-25s find jobs?”, “Why are 16 and 17-year-olds not allowed to vote?”, “Why don’t you improve the bus network in Redbridge?” and “Why are university fees so expensive?”
Cllr Ian Bond said: “It was really lively and packed. The children always get more interested when there is a little bit of friendly rivalry between parties so they really enjoyed the debates.
“The subject always comes up over 16 and 17-year-olds being allowed to vote and it was interesting to see the room was really split down the middle.”
The Youth Involvement Team at Redbridge council have been running the Question Time style debates at schools for the last three years, involving over 1,500 students in local democracy, many for the first time.
Local Democracy Week is run by the council and aims to raise awareness of how local authorities operate and enables residents to meet their councillors.
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