Holbrook Academy reports on Youth Parliament

The Holbrook Academy News Team in Westminster Hall
The Holbrook Academy News Team in Westminster Hall

As members of the UK Youth Parliament took over the House of Commons’ famous green benches, it was students from Holbrook Academy who stepped into the role of BBC Political Reporters.

On Friday November 15th, nearly three hundred members of the UK Youth Parliament aged from 11 to 18 debated topics including Bullying, Careers Advice and Votes-at-16. The debate was chaired by the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP. The benches’ usual occupants were enjoying their autumn recess.

Above the Chamber, in the House of Commons Press Gallery, students from Holbrook Academy watched the debates and took notes before preparing online, audio and video reports.

The 12 Holbrook Academy Students were all from Year 10 and keen to learn more about Journalism or Parliament or both. They were taking part in a BBC School Report Practice Day.

The students, plus teachers Mr Anstee-Parry and Mrs Tinker, set out from Holbrook before 8am. They based themselves in the BBC’s Westminster Offices with teams going into the Palace of Westminster to the House of Commons Press Gallery for both the morning and afternoon debates.

Working with a cameraman and sound recordist, students interviewed the Speaker and members of the UKYP, wrote a story for the BBC website and wrote and recorded a 12-minute Today In Parliament audio programme summing up the whole day.

You can read, see and listen to what they produced here.

The debates ended with a vote to decide which would be the UK Youth Parliament’s priority campaign for 2014. For their national campaign, members chose ‘Votes at 16’.

Holbrook Academy student Luke Handley said: “It was awesome. It was a really different experience.” Rachael Collett, who interviewed the Speaker, said: “He was engaging and gave very good answers”.

Coral Edgell thought the day was “amazing” and Millie Garnham said: “I found it fascinating and am going to be more interested in politics from now on.”

Mrs Tinker said: “The children enjoyed every moment. They worked really hard and did a great job representing the Academy. I’m sure this trip will make a difference to how they all think about their futures.”