College debate gets young people and politicians talking

College debate gets young people and politicians talking

David Willetts, the Universities and Science Minister, Lib Dem peer and former MP, Baroness Susan Kramer, Labour MP Rushanara Ali, writer/broadcaster Hardeep Singh Kohli and Havering College student Jamie Roper were quizzed by young people at a Question Time-style event.

The College in Hornchurch, Essex, hosted a live webcast debate on Friday, June 1 as a prizewinner in the BBC’s Schools Questions and Answers competition.

The BBC’s deputy political editor James Landale chaired the debate in The Space at the Havering College Ardleigh Green Campus.

The 45 minute webcast went out live and was repeated on the BBC Parliament Channel on Sunday, June 3. It is available on BBCiPlayer for one week.

The BBC Scotland production went ahead as scheduled despite panelists being forced to adjust their travel plans as a result of rail disruption at Ilford on Friday morning.

Passengers on the number 86 bus route were unexpectedly joined by Cabinet Minister Mr Willetts who finally arrived at the college with just minutes to spare.

The 150-strong audience quizzing the panel was made up of Havering College students and pupils from secondary schools across Havering.

There was praise from all involved:

David Willetts said: ‘It has been excellent. It is a very well established and respected college and I hope to visit again sometime in the future.’

Baroness Kramer said: ‘What struck me was the enthusiasm of the young people. They were so good. I was incredibly impressed by the young people who shared their opinions with great confidence.’

Rushanara Ali said: ‘The college is fantastic. The young people are very enthusiastic and very smart. They are very engaged. I really enjoyed hearing what they had to say in the debate. To have all this talent bursting through is brilliant.’

Hardeep Singh Kohli said: ‘The young people were great, they were passionate and it gives you real faith in the future.’

James Landale said: ‘I am amazed by Havering College. I think it is fantastic. There was energy and enthusiasm from the students. They were fully engaged in the debate. The students were interesting and insightful. They gave some of the panellists a hard time – it was brilliant!’

Student panellist Jamie Roper, 20, from Harold Wood, who is the college Student Union president, said: ‘I was nervous at first but I really enjoyed making my points in the debate.’

Media student Pat Rawlins, 18, from Romford, was thrilled to have clips from a short film he made about university fees included as part of the BBC broadcast. Beauty Therapy students were in charge of the panellists’ make up.

The webcast prize is the result of the college’s curriculum manager for Media, Andy Popperwell, entering a five minute edited clip of Havering Asks in the Schools Questions and Answers competition. The Havering Asks event was organised by the college and Havering Council during Local Democracy Week last September and involved a filmed debate with an audience of 150 young people and a panel of politicians and celebrities.

Mr Popperwell said: ‘The BBC were delighted with the production. The programme will be the best possible advertisement for the college and its people.’

Paul Champion

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Twitter: @blogapprentice
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