Politics Projects

Posted at 12:07 pm on 15th November, 2021

Staff at Flixton Girls School, FGS, have joined forces with ‘The Politics Project’ who aim to provide every school student in Britain with a chance to speak to a politician during their time at school. The project ensures student receive support about social and political issues and prepares them for engagement with politicians and decision-makers. This unique ‘Explore-Understand-Prepare’ pedagogy ensures young people have the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to engage meaningfully with decision-makers.

Students, with the assistance of staff, are then able to participate in a one-hour virtual dialogue session called “surgeries” with a politician. The sessions, led by students are designed to be interactive activities to help young people and politicians build relationships and discuss relevant social and political issues, which are important to them.

This project has been established to allow relationships with younger constituents to be established, as well as to diminish one of the biggest critiques of modern politics - that politicians are all talk and no action. Many people think that politicians tell them what they want to hear but won’t always take their ideas on board or act on issues afterwards.

By pushing politicians to do more this project creates ‘Pledges’ to showcase politicians taking action and hold them to the promises that they make to young people. Which in turn demonstrates when politicians do what they say they will, helping to rebuild trust and establishing strong relationships between young people and their representatives.

FGS year 12 and 13 students were able to talk directly to Kate Green OBE MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Education, and raise specific questions relating to topics of their choice. These included:

‘Why isn’t there a death penalty and do you think there should be one?’

‘Do you think there should be an age cap for MP’s and Lords?’

‘What do you feel has been your greatest achievement in your career, so far?’

Kate Green tweeted, ‘Thanks for all your great questions! We covered a vast array of topics from climate emergency, death penalty, education policy and much more! Looking forward to my next #DigitalSurgery.’

The Politics Project tweeted: ‘Wonderful surgery this afternoon, thank you @KateGreen and @flixtongs for taking part! #DigitalSurgeries 

Student participants commented, 'Kate Green was easy to talk to.' 'She was engaging, genuine and approachable.' 'We felt she listened and was interested in our questions and provided informative and thought provoking answers.' 'It wasn't just a one-way conversation and she questioned our ideas and experiences, particularly about climate change, COP26 and our education.'

Ms Kelly, Lead History teacher said, 'Through events such as these, our students get to take part in the politics of our country. For many of our year 12's who took part in the surgery with Kate Green, it was their first interaction with a policy maker. Several of the students used the surgery as an opportunity to get first hand views from politics relating to their areas of interest for the extended project qualifications.

The session with the Sixth Form students was interactive, with Kate Green asking their views on what they want to see change and implemented in terms of the curriculum in readying young people for the world of work. She listened to them, and it became more of a discussion than simply a formal Q&A which allowed our students to have their say on key issues. For those taking A Level Politics, this type of event provides experience about how the government works, and how MPs listen and respond to their constituents. Several of the students who took part, will now help prepare younger students for their digital surgeries, and in understanding the importance of these sessions for making change.'

We look forward to more members of our school community taking part in further virtual or perhaps face to face Q&A sessions with more local decision-makers.

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