Over 100 staff, students, parents and members of the local community came to the hustings for the General Election 2019 to be held on 12th December. Candidates from each political party attended, Alex Burghart (Conservative), Oliver Durose (Labour), Paul Jeater (Green), David Kendall (Liberal Democrats) and Robin Tilbrook (English Democrats) and Mr Barrs, Headteacher chaired the event. Each candidate delivered their manifestos and then the audience were invited to ask questions.
The event gave the school an opportunity to contribute to the Ingatestone community as well as the wider community of the school. Encouraging young people to engage in their democracy is an important feature of an Anglo education and the level of questioning certainly put our candidates on the spot. Questions about our relationship with Europe, formal or otherwise, were taken first. Mr Barrs made history by using the “B” word when referring to the possible British exit from the European Union! Questions about education, mental health and the NHS then followed.
Mr Barrs concluded the meeting by expressing a view that politics is important and is conducted by people who want to make a difference. He went on to say that politics can be divisive but it also needed to be a unifying force .
At least 3 people expressed the view that they had moved from “undecided” to “decided” in terms of how they will vote as a result of attending the hustings. The straw poll at the end indicated a fairly even split between The Conservative Party, the Green Party, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats. It may not be quite like that on polling day!
A strong tradition in this country is that parents take their children by the hand to the polling station. This certainly reinforces the importance of voting. It is clear, however, that many of our young people think that voting is so important that they might consider taking their parents by the hand on polling day to make sure they vote!