Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons and Chorley Member of Parliament Lindsay Hoyle was grilled on the Throne of Words for 80 minutes and engaged with over fifty students in several debates. The session was a challenging, extra- curricular activity which aimed to promote communication and encourage critical thinking abilities.
Members of the Student Council met every break time for a week to prepare their questions; they held discussions about the issues that are important to them both locally and nationally. Students had an active role in running and promoting this Throne of Words session within the school by asking their form groups to submit questions. This provided students with leadership roles and gave students the opportunity to debate the issues that matter to them in their form groups.
The session started off gently, Mr Hoyle talked about his career in politics and his long standing commitment to improve the lives of residents in Chorley.
The pace of the debate increased when students moved onto the new education policies and Year 11 students expressed their frustrations at the impact these will have on their examinations. Mr Hoyle assured students that he was raising this matter with the Secretary of State for Education and asking him to rethink some of his policies.
Another fiery issue was public transport, students debated their dissatisfaction with sparse local bus services and the high cost to travel. Mr Hoyle agreed with all the points raised and informed them that in London all young people under 16 can travel for free on public transport. Students’ unanimously agreed that this would be an issue to campaign on in 2014.
Students discussed the impact the life of Nelson Mandela had on South Africa and on the rest of the world. Mr Hoyle agreed on the profound impact of Mandela on fighting injustice and that all politicians throughout the world should be inspired by his ability to make a lasting impact on the lives of others.
Mr Hoyle asked to continue the session after the students had finished their set questions. This allowed a much more open debate about the students experiences living in Chorley and policies that could be implemented to improve the local community.
“The session was highly enjoyable as students proved to be well prepared and passionate about the range of topics discussed. The debate showed that young people are not disengaged from political issues and are keen to become involved in improving their local community.”
–Mark Fowle, Head teacher