31/03/21

Political Awareness Week | Newsletter

In the week beginning 22nd February we were very excited to join King Edward’s School for their Political Awareness Week. This consisted of a series of after school online lectures. Each speaker gave a short talk and there was then the opportunity to ask questions, with the exception of Wednesday evening when we were treated to a Question Time-style debate!

Details of the lectures are below, with a selection of feedback comments from our Politics students…

Monday 22nd: Identity politics – presentation on race by Barbara Krauthamer, the Dean of the

University of Massachusetts’ Amherst Graduate Institute.

Monday 23rd: Gender in politics – talk by Dr Elliot Evans from the University of Birmingham.

Wednesday 24th: British politics – Zoom Panel of Politicians, consisting of Mayor Andy Street,

Saqib Bhatti MP, Preet Gill MP and Councillor Matt Bennett.

Thursday 25th: Geopolitics – presentation by Bob Whalley CB, a former civil servant who chaired

COBRA (the government’s emergency response meetings) and who was also the director of

counterterrorism at the Home Office.

The political awareness lectures were such a great opportunity to learn and engage in several areas of government and politics. The event I enjoyed the most was the presentation by Professor Barbara Krauthamer on race in politics. I learned so much about the influence of race on politics throughout history, particularly during the time of slavery in America. The professor clearly elaborated on the generational trauma that still remains across the entire electoral process. It was interesting to hear her take on the reason slavery ended in England so much earlier than it did in the United States. She also emphasised how this has translated into the polarised nature of the two nations, particularly within politics. It has made me excited to hopefully study politics in the future as there is so much to learn outside the confines of the curriculum.

Sienna Gardner, Y13

My favourite event was the panel discussion of politicians, I thought that was very cool. It was like watching them debate in Parliament but more personalised, because the questions that they were answering were questions that would not have been asked by other politicians, like what the Muslim Tory’s view was on Boris Johnson’s letterbox comment about niqabis, or if the NHS has become quite cult-like!

Amina Miah, Y12

The event I enjoyed the most was the session on Geopolitics with speaker Sir Robert Whalley. It was extremely engaging to hear from a former civil servant and and the former Director of Counter Terrorism at the Home Office. It gave me an insight into the individual pressures of the civil service, as well as a better understanding of how the relationship between civil servants and ministers has developed. Civil servants are the pillars behind the system of government and so speaker Robert Whalley’s insight was extremely valuable in letting me see directly the roles civil servants must take in order to help the government succeed.

Sadiyah Saiyed, Y12