On Friday the 8th November 2019, The University of Leeds invited 8 schools to Leeds Minster for the annual Question Time. This is the third year the event has run, and has become a new tradition, which we hope to keep going throughout the future years.
The day commenced when students from Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School and Immanuel College arrived for some morning workshops. A new addition to the programme, the workshops offered students a taster of what they could expect in a university seminar. Our workshops ‘Politics and Religion – Dream Team or Toxic Combination?’ and ‘What’s the Point of Politics?’ were a huge success, engaging the students in thought proving discussions, and encouraging them to voice their opinions.
Cardinal Heenan and Immanuel were then joined by 6 other schools from Leeds and Bradford for the Schools Question Time Panel Discussion. The panel included Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, Cllr Salma Arif, Rev. Heston Groenewald, Dr Caroline Starkey, Dr Jasjit Singh and was chaired by Dr Rachel Muers from the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science. The panel answered a number of questions which highlighted a variety of political and religious conversations relating to funding, race, global warming and more.
What are your thoughts on extinction rebellion? How could the British Educational System change the Euro-centric curriculum and promote diversity (e.g. Black History)?
Following answers from members of the panel, the questions were opened to the students to comment and discuss. This safe space allowed the students to have an open conversation with each other and the panel. It was interesting to hear what the students had to say and inspiring to see how engaged the young people of West Yorkshire are with these current debates.
Once the Question Time session had finished, the students had the opportunity to have a one on one discussion with the panel members. Many of the students grabbed the opportunity to get photos with their local MP.
Events like this are highly inspiring for the students who attend. Having the opportunity to openly debate current political, social and religious issues with council and members of parliaments is rare, and The University of Leeds is proud to have provided so many students with this chance.
Following the success of the event, we hope to see all the schools (and more!) back in 2020, for the fourth annual Question Time!
Written by Tilly, Student Ambassador.