Potters Bar pupils lobby media and MP over wide range of issues

PUBLISHED: 12:36 20 July 2017 | UPDATED: 12:36 20 July 2017

University tuition fee campainers Amy Kay (left) and Paige Moseley.

University tuition fee campainers Amy Kay (left) and Paige Moseley.

Archant

Politically engaged Potters Bar school pupils have belied their tender years by mounting team campaigns for issues they care deeply about.

Mihai Butoi, 15, is collecting clothes and food for a church project to help the homeless.Mihai Butoi, 15, is collecting clothes and food for a church project to help the homeless.

Nearly 40 teams of 14 and 15-year-old GCSE citizenship students invited media organisations and local politicians to Mount Grace School.

With the help of mounted displays and a wealth of statistics, the teams, each three or four-strong, vied to win over visitors to their campaigns, covering subjects as diverse as foreign aid and fighting discrimination.

Fifteen-year-old Paige Moseley, for example, told the Potters Bar Edition that university tuition fees should be lower.

She said: “Tuition fees were originally £3,000 a year.

Teacher Brett Kingsnorth with campain posters and clothes collected in aid of a school for impoverished Brazilians.Teacher Brett Kingsnorth with campain posters and clothes collected in aid of a school for impoverished Brazilians.

“Now they have gone up to £9,000 a year, and it will be another £250 a year next year.”

Challenged that her campaign was less altruistic than others, she insisted: “More people going to university will be good for the economy.

“We will always need doctors.”

The campaign groups collected signatures for petitions, and have also lobbied Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden.

Mr Dowden was prevented from attending by a meeting with the Prime Minister, but replied to the various campaigners either offering his support or explaining why he disagreed.

Although most of the groups aimed at political goals, others tried to raise money for charity by selling clothes or cup-cakes, or raised awareness of issues such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Marco Iaquinandi, 15, who is trying to convince the school to start teaching self-defence, explained: “I have been doing karate for nine years.

“Luckily I have never had to use it for self-defence, but knowing you have the skills to get out of a tricky situation gives you confidence.”

Lily Bentley, 14, who calls her campaign Unite not Fight, uses social media to counter Islamophobia, and was selling cup-cakes at the Citizenship Day to raise money for refugees.

After quoting statistics suggesting Muslims suffer employment discrimination, she said: “I have a friend who is a Muslim. I want her to have a future.”

Citizenship teacher Brett Kingsnorth said: “Citizenship is a strong department for the school. Results are well above the national average.

“The students all chose something they cared about.

“It is great to see them getting so engaged.”

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