1st December 2017
A Level students were honoured to meet Lord Best, the former Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Housing Trust, when he visited the College as part of the House of Lords ‘Peers in School’ outreach programme. The visit, organised by the Lord Speaker’s office, raised awareness of the work and role of the House of Lords and demonstrated the pool of knowledge and experience that exists within the Chamber.
Students studying A Level Politics and Law heard how the House of Lords and its associated committees amend government bills, passing them through Parliament. Lord Best stressed the importance of young people engaging in politics, in particular voting in future General Elections, and students had the opportunity ask questions on a range of topics including Brexit, the recent budget, housing, sexual harassment, sustainability, cross-faith representatiion in the House of Lords, and the Peer’s wider interests.
Second year A Level Politics student John-Paul Duddy (formerly of Millthorpe School) was inspired by Lord Best’s talk, saying,: “It was fantastic, so informative - everything I learned in my AS Level studies about the legislative processes was explained so clearly today. Lord Best was particularly interesting when he spoke about housing issues – it was obviously his area of expertise. I want to study Politics at university and Lord Best’s talk has sparked my interest even further.”
Norwegian student Marie Fosker said: “I really liked it, it was so interesting to hear about the House of Lords from someone who actually sits in the Chamber. I am studying the parliamentary law process in AS Level Law and this talk has made things much clearer in my mind.”
Katie Cocker, also an A Level Politics student (formerly of Queen Margaret’s School) said: “It was fascinating to hear this information first-hand. I am opposed to the House of Lords, I think it needs reforms in all kinds of ways but I do appreciate that it is good for the House of Lords to make checks on Parliament, to provide a balance.”
Politics tutor Sean Ledwith said: “The purpose of the talk was to encourage first year Politics and Law students to become more engaged with UK political, parliamentary and legal processes. As the House of Lords is an essential part of both A Level courses, this was a great opportunity for students to enhance their exam performance and wider understanding of the nature of British democracy.”
Since the Peers in Schools programme was launched in September 2007, members of the House of Lords have spoken to around 50,000 school and college pupils, with the aim of engaging students in UK politics and parliament.