Barnsley Sixth Form College students take part in mock parliamentary debate

Students from Barnsley Sixth Form College took part in a mock parliamentary debate with students from The University of Sheffield Faculty of Social Science Outreach Team.

The Outreach Team arrange taster days and sessions in schools and colleges to encourage aspirations and widen participation areas. The session has been developed by the University Ambassadors and Politics students as a result of realising the importance of being confident in public speaking when students move on to university.

Barnsley Sixth Form College students who are interested in politics were invited to be involved as part of their voluntary enrichment opportunities. A total of 22 students took part in the sessions which were held over three weeks. The students were given tips and tools for public speaking and took part in a large debate. They were then divided into groups in order to research and develop topics ready for a mock parliamentary debate on the subject of ‘All drugs should be legalised’.

In the final week the room was set up to resemble the House of Commons and the students took their seat in the relevant party representing Socialist, Liberal, Conservative and Nationalist parties. Natalie James and Gregory Stiles from the University of Sheffield presided over the event and were on hand to bring the house to order when necessary.

Citizenship student Joseph Chambers, 16, of Abbey Farm View, Cudworth said: “It was great to learn about speaking in public and being given tips about how to get your point across. I enjoyed being able to argue my opinion like they do on televised debates.”

University of Sheffield Outreach Communications Assistant, Corina Bradbury, added: “We have enjoyed it as much as the students. Some of their arguments were well researched and executed. These sessions are all about raising aspirations and encouraging those most able, but less likely, to apply to university.”

From September 2016 Barnsley Sixth Form College will be offering a new A Level in Government and Politics. Students will study subjects such as People, Politics and Participation and Governing Modern Britain. In the second year options will include Politics of the USA and Ideologies in action. For further information about any of the A Level courses available at Barnsley Sixth Form College please call 01226 216 123, email info@barnsley.ac.uk