PICTURES: Andrea Leadsom visits school

conservative MP Andrea Leadsom visits Sutton community academy to talk to students.
conservative MP Andrea Leadsom visits Sutton community academy to talk to students.

A top Tory debated the issues of the day with students at an Ashfield school

Conservative MP and former Tory party leadership rival Andrea Leadsom MP visited Sutton Community Academy on Friday to talk to students as part of the VotesForSchools initiative.

The MP, who is also Leader of the House of Commons was quizzed by pupils on issues that concerned them by pupils from year 10 and the sixth form.

VotesforSchools was created to give young people a better knowledge of current affairs and get them voting.

Every week at their News Friday sessions the students discuss a current topic. This week it was the pros and cons of a vegetarian lifestyle.

Student loans, the high cost of buying your own home and online bullying were among the subjects discussed at the session.

The MP also told the class about the work she has bee doing to commemorate 100 years of womens’ suffrage.

Mrs Leadsom said: “I’m really impressed by the students.

“They had such a strong views on every subject from vegetarianism to housing, to tuition fees.

“At quite a young age they are very opinionated and one of the very interesting discussions we had was the over why are young people not interested in politics.

“We all concluded they are very interested and politically engaged in topics and policy areas but they don’t find the political process engaging - and that is a challenge for all of us in politics, to try and find a way to engage with young people, to get them to contribute their thoughts and ideas.

“But I’ve been really impressed with the conversations I’ve had with them.”

Connor -Lee Baugh, 14 said: “I really like expressing my opinion in the sessions and listening to the opinions of others on issues around the world and I think it is very beneficial to learn about current affairs.

“To have Andrea here is exciting but it’s a bit unnerving.”

David Mackey senior assistant principal said: “We’ve had the leader of the House of Commons come here today to speak to our students and the process will be used to develop students’ social skills and make them better adults when they leave essentially to teach them about life in modern Britain.

One of the systems we use during our news Friday to let them know what is going on in the world.

“We have had an Ofsted inspection recently where we were good with outstanding features we want them to be well rounded people who can contribute to the community and further afield.”