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Education in an Uncertain World - Student Panel Discussion with MP

Education in an Uncertain World - a question and answer panel discussion on 13 March 2020 focusing on issues raised by students in Hampshire – a joint event organised by the Bohunt/Bedales schools’ partnership.

Aims

To engage students from partner schools in topical current affairs such as issues involving education, young people and the Government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Opportunity for students to ask questions and articulate their views as panellists.

Opportunity for students to debate with school leaders and the local Member of Parliament.

Background

The Education in an Uncertain World panel discussion was based on the popular ‘Question Time’ format. In the panel discussion, students in the audience were invited to ask questions on issues and topics of interest; former Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, MP for East Hampshire, was joined by panellists Neil Strowger, Headteacher of Bohunt School and Trust Leader of Bohunt Education Trust, Magnus Bashaarat, Head of Bedales School, and Abi Wharton, Bedales Head of Global Awareness (panel chair), as well as two students – one from Bohunt Sixth Form and one from Bedales.

Resources

The event was hosted by Bedales in its Lupton Hall in collaboration with Bohunt Education Trust (BET).

Impact

Students posed a number of questions to the panel, varying from education and COVID-19, through to teenage sleep, whether the voting age should be lowered to 16, and the approach to assessment and testing in schools. Students’ questions were well received by Damian Hinds and the other members of the panel, with the discussion raising a number of interesting and insightful points from the varying perspectives of the panellists and audience.

After the event, Damian Hinds, East Hampshire MP, commented:

“It was wonderful to meet so many engaged students at this event, and to see them taking a real interest in education more broadly. Their contributions demonstrated an impressive level of knowledge, understanding and passion for current affairs. Thank you to everyone involved for an extremely enjoyable afternoon with so many bright and inspiring young individuals, and to Bedales and Bohunt for creating such a valuable educational opportunity through their partnership.”

Magnus Bashaarat, Head of Bedales Schools, said:

“Student voice has always been a strong feature of a Bedales education, so it is fitting that we have created this event with Bohunt, bringing students and school leaders together to discuss and debate the challenging issues facing politics and society today with our elected representative in Parliament.”

Neil Strowger, Chief Executive of Bohunt Education Trust, added: 

“Bohunt is committed to providing students with ambitious, immersive learning opportunities. The popularity and success of this second Question Time event with students across a number of our schools and Bedales highlights the inspiring political motivation of our students and the strength of our partnership, and embodies our collaborative approach to education.”

Pupil Involvement

The afternoon was attended by over 140 Politics, Economics and History students from Bohunt, The Petersfield School, Priory School, Portsmouth and Bedales. Students were invited to submit questions in advance which were short-listed by Bedales and Bohunt teachers, and a final set of questions was then chosen.

Frequency

This event has become annual following the first gathering featuring Damian Hinds, hosted at Bohunt last year. It was the latest in a series of co-operative activities and workshops held between Bedales and BET, which has a close partnership to share good practice, resources, training opportunities and student collaborations across their networks.

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