Sixth Form Political Hustings

Published 9 March 2022

On Thursday 17 February, the Sixth Form hosted representatives from four major political parties, who gamely agreed to field questions from a packed audience of 16-18 year olds. The courageous candidates included Cllr Ross Mackinnon (Conservatives), Cllr Dave Marsh (Greens), Dr Liz Bell (Labour) and Cllr Lee Dillion (Liberal Democrats).

Deputy Head Student, Connor Beckett, who is studying A Level Politics at St Bart’s Sixth Form, superbly chaired the lively session. The questions, pre-selected from a wide range submitted by the students prior to the event, sought the representative’s views on a variety of topics. Students quizzed the parties on wider UK and international concerns from Ukraine, to the energy crisis and the ‘partygate’ scandal. The guests were asked their opinions on whether examinations were the most effective method of assessing student abilities and how the council would invest in local resources and opportunities for young people.

Connor Beckett said: “It was a great opportunity for me to chair the hustings. I want to take politics further after sixth form, so events like this give me the experience in engaging with different viewpoints and a wide range of issues that other students feel strongly about.”


Mr Wilder, St Bart’s Sixth Form House Leader and organiser of the event, said: “We were delighted to welcome such a high calibre panel of representatives into our school. It was such a high energy event with brilliant questions from our students. We are passionate about engaging our young people with local politics and having their voice heard on shaping their local community. Politics is not something that happens far away from young people but rather it affects every part of their lives. By engaging students in these hustings, we want to encourage them to actively participate with these issues because they will be the future leaders of our community and country.”

Cllr Dave Marsh, said: “Who says politics is boring? The St Bart’s sixth-formers showed they are well informed and very engaged in the big issues of the day. It was a pleasure and privilege to take part. The future is in good hands!” Dr Liz Bell, said: “It was a real pleasure to answer the thoughtful questions of the St Barts students, and to engage in a debate from diverse political viewpoints. I very much hope we spoke to, and inspired some future politicians.”

The Political Hustings was the latest event in the Sixth Form’s ambitious enrichment programme, in which previously students have enjoyed talks from such guest speakers as Leader, Strategist and Adventurer, Kevin Gaskell. The programme seeks to inspire students with the breadth of opportunities available to them following their studies and to consider that they will be the future leaders of our communities, industry, NGOs and charities, shaping how we live our lives and what is important to us all.