Local students question Schools' Minister

Academic & Curriculum, Bedales Senior

Damian Hinds, MP for East Hampshire and Minister of State for Schools, participated in a ‘Question Time’ style panel discussion on 10 May 2024, which gave over 120 students from the local area the opportunity to engage on topics including education, democracy, refugees and the Middle East. 

The ‘Education in an Uncertain World’ panel discussion was based on the popular BBC ‘Question Time’ format and was hosted by Bedales in collaboration with Bohunt School, which is part of Bohunt Education Trust (BET). The afternoon was attended by students from Bohunt, The Petersfield School and Bedales. 

Question Time panellists at Bedales School

Students in the audience were invited to ask questions on issues and topics of interest. Sixth form students Sally Codling (Bohunt) and Ollie Dodd (Bedales) were the two student representatives on the panel. They were joined by Damian Hinds MP; Neil Strowger, Headteacher of Bohunt School and Trust Leader of BET; Will Goldsmith, Head of Bedales School; and Nick Gregory, Bedales Teacher of History and Politics (panel chair).  

Following the Question Time setup, students posed a number of questions to the panel, varying from education attainment and reform, religion in schools, the role for schools in the Middle East conflict and the forthcoming election.  

The students’ questions were well received by Damian Hinds and the other members of the panel, with the discussion raising a wide range of insights from the varying perspectives of the panellists and young people in the audience. 

The event was the latest in a series of partnership activities and workshops held between Bedales and BET to share good practice, resources, training opportunities and student collaborations across their networks. 

Damian Hinds, MP for East Hampshire, said: 

“I always enjoy taking part in these Question Time debates and being put through my paces by the students. Their thoughtful and challenging questions demonstrated an impressive knowledge, understanding and passion for current affairs and a real interest in the societal issues facing us all. Thank you to all the students who participated, and to our school hosts.” 

Will Goldsmith, Head of Bedales School, said: 

“We are grateful to Damian Hinds for contributing to this valuable education experience. Student voice is such a strong feature of a Bedales education, so it is fitting that we have created this event with Bohunt, bringing students and school leaders together for public discourse and the opportunity to debate the challenging issues facing politics and society today with our elected representative of Parliament.” 

Neil Strowger, Trust Leader of Bohunt Education Trust, said:  

“The Question Time afternoon is a prime example of the ambitious and immersive learning opportunities offered to Bohunt students that extend beyond the confines of the classroom. Once again, I found it immensely enjoyable to be part of this engaging event, which nurtures intellectual curiosity and fosters critical thinking.”