We were delighted to welcome several distinguished speakers to our Parliament Week Youth & Democracy debate. The speakers included Rev. Heather Dyce – Senior Pastor at Gracemead Church, Hatfield and OSA school Governor; Sharon Stanley – Senior Engagement Officer, Houses of Parliament; Lynne Sparks – Deputy Mayor and community activist; Azed Butt – Youth & Charity activist, studying Masters in Politics; Michal Siewniak – Former Councillor, community & charity activist, whose idea the debate event was. We were also thrilled to welcome a large group of 6th Form students from Bishop’s Hatfield Girls School.
The speakers had approximately 5 minutes to get their points across to the students and the presentations ranged from the importance of youth participation and activism at local and national levels. The students were then able to question the speakers and we were very proud of the quality of their questions. In fact, we needed a longer debate to encompass all of the points they wanted to make, something we will rectify for the next event!
The event was admirably summed up by Mr Harpham who spoke about the serious issues facing our world today which our young people can address and effect change.
Year 13 student Ben Thompson said: ‘It was a great event and the speakers were really, really interesting, I just wish we had had more time. There were a lot more questions that we wanted to ask and points raised by the speakers that we would have liked to ask more about but I suppose that showed that the event was successful – we were certainly engaged! I hope that we do it again’.
Headteacher Mr Harpham told us, ‘It was wonderful to have students from both Onslow St Audrey’s and Bishop’s Hatfield Girls’ School representing the young people of Hatfield at this event.
I sincerely hope this will be a starting point for the two schools to work more closely together, providing further opportunities for them to discuss and debate key issues facing young people today with community leaders’.