School pupils to be politicians for the day at Leeds Beckett
Around 90 Year 10 pupils from local schools: Mount St Mary’s, Boston Spa, Allerton High, Roundhay, Cardinal Heenan and Morley Academy, will attend the ‘Politics Matters’ day at the University’s Headingley Campus.
The pupils will be taking part in activities including establishing their own political party manifesto and taking part in a referendum to decide whether or not the voting age should be lowered to 16. The pupils’ manifestos will be judged by a panel including staff from the Politics and Applied Global Ethics (PAGE) teaching team at Leeds Beckett.
The University lecturers will also give talks to explain how politics works in the UK and the pupils will have the opportunity to meet and chat with local MPs and councillors, including Fabian Hamilton, Labour MP for Leeds North East, and Alex Shelbrooke, Conservative MP for Elmet and Rothwell.
Speaking ahead of the event, Dr Paul Wetherly, Reader in Politics at Leeds Beckett, said: “I am very pleased that we are running our ‘Politics Matters’ event for the second year, in collaboration with our school partners, Roundhay and Cardinal Heenan and we are hopefully that this can become and established annual event. For the Politics & Applied Global Ethics team this is an important part of our widening participation and public engagement work.
“The pupils will be working on ideas for an election manifesto which is especially appropriate in the run up to the general election and against the background of concern about disengagement from politics by young people. We hope the experience will nurture the students’ interest in politics and encourage them to consider studying the subject at A Level and beyond and to become engaged citizens. As part of the day we are pleased that some of our own politics students have volunteered to present a debate on the controversial issue of whether the voting age should be lowered to 16.”