CEC Hosts Election Debate on Climate Change

Students and staff at Cowes Enterprise College were delighted to welcome local general election candidates for a student-led Question Time for Climate Change event.

Students at the school, which is sponsored by Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT), wrote and democratically selected questions on the environment, which were asked to the panel of candidates hoping to be the next MP for the Isle of Wight.

Questions at the hustings included one from Lotty in Year 10, who asked, “How can we help you and how can you work with us to achieve a more sustainable future for the Isle of Wight?” and Lily in Year 7, who asked, “What would be the first thing you focus on, regarding global warming, if you get into power?”

Every moment of the event was run by students in the Sixth Form, skilfully led by Head Girl, Beth Pitts. The Chair for the hustings was Head Boy, Kieran Wetherick, who did a strong job of keeping the panel in order. Year 8 student Oriol was responsible for live tweeting the event to the school’s Twitter, whilst pupil Victoria took on the job of official photographer.

Bob Seely, Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for the Isle of Wight, commented that it was the best hustings event he had been to in his career, whilst the school enjoyed positive feedback from other delegates.

Cowes Enterprise College has long prioritised encouraging students to ‘be the change they want to see’ and play an active role in making their voices heard. The school is taking part in the ‘Global Strike 4 Future’ and earlier this year marked the international climate change protest day with a day of student-led social action. Special lesson time was devoted to learning more about the democratic process, whilst an ‘Eco Council’ conference was held to enable students to put together a plan of action and write letters to politicians.

Before the hustings, all students in the school were briefed by the tutor on the process of voting and how a local vote links into a national vote and makes a different, as well as the issues of climate change and sustainability and their link to the candidate’s manifestos.

Rachel Kitley, Principal at Cowes Enterprise College, said:

“Hosting our own Question Time event, centred solely on the crucial issue of climate change, was a great way for our students to recognise how important their voices are. It was hugely encouraging to see them so actively involved in the political process and hear from the candidates about how impressed they were with their efforts.

“We look forward to continuing to support our students to demonstrate their keen social and political awareness with similar student-led initiatives in the future.”