Students quiz Damian Hinds MP

Bedales Senior

Students from the Bohunt Education Trust (BET) and Bedales came together online for a virtual Question and Answer discussion on politics, current affairs and education on 19 March 2021.

Panellists included former Education Secretary and MP for East Hampshire, Rt Hon Damian Hinds; Neil Strowger, Trust Leader, Bohunt Education Trust and Headteacher, Bohunt School; Magnus Bashaarat, Head of Bedales and Sixth Form students Lauren Bloomfield (Bohunt) and Elena Belisario (Bedales). The discussion was skilfully chaired by the Telegraph’s Education and Careers Editor, Victoria Lambert.

Over 150 Politics, Economics, Global Awareness and History Sixth Form students from Bohunt School and Sixth Form, TPS, Steyning Grammar School and Bedales attended the online event, modelled on the BBC’s Question Time, where panellists were quizzed by students on topics including the government’s handling of the COVID pandemic, the extent to which today’s education prepares young people for an uncertain future, inclusion, diversity, and the NHS.

The event followed a similar (albeit face-face) event featuring Damian Hinds hosted at Bedales last year, and was the latest in a series of co-operative activities and workshops held between BET and Bedales, which has a developing partnership to share good practice, resources, training opportunities and student collaborations.

The student panellists were selected by their schools to join the debate. Lauren Bloomfield is at Bohunt Sixth Form studying History, Politics and Economics, and is hoping to go on to take History and Politics at degree level. Elena Belisário, who lived in Brazil from ages 9-12, joined Bedales Sixth Form to study Philosophy, Religion and Ethics, Politics, Spanish and Global Perspectives and hopes to study International Politics or Peace Studies at university.

Damian Hinds, MP for East Hampshire, commented:

“I was hugely impressed with the engagement from the students who demonstrated such passion and depth of understanding of the complex issues facing us all. This event was another great example of the productive partnership between Bohunt and Bedales and it was such a pleasure to play a part in it.

Neil Strowger, CEO, BET and Headteacher, Bohunt School, commented:

“The annual Question Time event was equally as powerful online as in person and the insight and thought demonstrated by our young panellists was wonderful to see. Many of our students remained in classrooms post-event, to continue discussion - highlighting the popularity of this initiative, the inspiring political motivation of our students and the strength of the BET/Bedales partnership.”

Magnus Bashaarat, Head of Bedales, added:

“The panel discussion has become an excellent annual fixture in our partnership with Bohunt and I am grateful to them for hosting it so successfully online for the first time. The event was an excellent opportunity for students to interact with a Member of Parliament, and to learn about holding our elected politicians to account for their actions and the decisions they make that affect all of our lives.”