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Cabinet minister visits academy

Posted onPosted on 23rd Mar

Students at Sutton Community Academy had their say on political issues when Andrea Leadsom MP, the leader of the House of Commons, paid them a visit.

The teenagers tackled topics such as student loans, equality, house prices and lowering the voting age when the MP took part in a question-and-answer session.

Mrs Leadsom was at the school to find out more about how its uses a teaching resource called Votes For Schools, which is designed to promote the understanding of democracy and politics among students by supplying teachers with resources to stimulate debate.

She watched while Year 10 students took part in a debate about vegetarianism before sitting down with a group from the school’s sixth-form to find out their attitudes towards democracy, and answer questions on a series of topics.

She also spoke about her campaign to improve working conditions within the House of Commons by establishing a new complaints system for staff and MPs who report being the victim of harassment and bullying.

Among the students taking part in the session was Jessica Willmott, 18, who spoke of her fears of being able to afford her own home in the current climate of high property prices and a low supply of housing across the UK.

She said: “It was nice being able to speak to someone directly involved in politics because when you’re a young person there aren’t many people you can talk to who can tell you what you want to know.”

Mrs Leadsom said: “I was very impressed with the students, who had strong views on all manner of subjects.

“People often say that young people aren’t interested in politics, but today showed that not to be the case. They are interested, but they don’t find the process engaging.

“The challenge for us is to engage with young people and get them to contribute to the political debate.”

Andrea Leadsom MP, leader of the House of Commons, is pictured with sixth-formers at Sutton Community Academy, Sutton.