Manchester students talk Brexit, transport, and salaries with Mayor Andy Burnham and Chris Green MP

To mark UK Parliament Week last month, The Politics Project coordinated digital surgeries with two schools in Greater Manchester: Wellacre Academy in Trafford and Ladybridge High School in Bolton.

 
IMG_3515.png
 

Wellacre and Ladybridge took part in a Digital Surgery with Mayor Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester. The group from Wellacre, which included students from Years 8, 9 and 10, asked a wealth of questions about Andy Burnham’s career, role as Mayor, and his opinions on a variety of issues including travel, crime and mental health.

Mr Gillan, Teacher of Humanities at Wellacre, said: “It was an amazing opportunity for our students to get the chance to interview a high profile politician, who has powers that affect the lives of all of our students.  The engagement of the students in a wide range of issues was great to see.”

Year 8 student Leo said: “I liked seeing an adult, in a position of power, talking to young people as equals and believing that what we said really mattered.”

In the previous week week, our team visited Ladybridge High School in Bolton, where students took part in a digital surgery with Chris Green MP, Member of Parliament for Bolton West and former Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Department for Transport.

The year 10 students had been preparing their questions for several weeks, researching Chris’s roles and duties, his positions on issues like Brexit and how much MPs are paid, and host of other topics relating to the constituency.

The students prepared for the workshop using Politics Project’s resources such as our politician research sheets. Teacher of RE and Citizenship at Ladybridge High, Joy Helliwell, who took part in one of our Manchester training days in June 2018, used the resources to help her students decide the issues that they wanted to discuss with Chris.

IMG_3350.jpg

Following on from the surgery, Harriet, Joy, Chris and a student from Ladybridge High over the phone, took part in a live interview on Bolton FM.

 
 Left to right: Chris Green MP, Joy Helliwell, Harriet Andrews and Neil Wilkinson of Bolton FM

Left to right: Chris Green MP, Joy Helliwell, Harriet Andrews and Neil Wilkinson of Bolton FM

 

Discussing her experience of using the Digital Surgeries programme with her students, Joy Helliwell, teacher of Citizenship and RE at Ladybridge HIgh School, said “The feedback from students has been great! They’ve really enjoyed being able to ask questions to people in a position of power and have felt as though they have been given a voice”.
She added that “The digital surgeries have been brilliant at reinforcing the fact that even though our young people are too young to vote, those that have been elected should still represent them.”

Martin Witter, Headteacher at Ladybridge High School, said: “I am delighted that our Years 9 and 10 Citizenship students are participating in The Politics Project’s Digital Surgeries. This has given them a real understanding that views and opinions can be shared and aired openly, and it’s a great opportunity to engage in political discussion first hand.

Reflecting on the day, Chris Green MP said “It was fantastic to attend the digital surgery with Ladybridge High School with some interesting questions being asked on Brexit, the community and why I got involved in politics. I would like to thank The Politics Project for organising the digital surgery and I look forward to getting involved with more digital surgeries in the future.”

Josh Dell