Ralph Thoresby School

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Schools question time at Leeds Minster, hosted by The University of Leeds.

On Friday the 9th November pupils from Ralph Thoresby gathered at Leeds Minster alongside 11 other schools from up and down the country, for the annual ‘Schools Question time’ that is ran by Leeds University. Our y11 pupils, who were carefully selected for their interest in religion, politics and philosophy, were given the opportunity to face a panel of local academics and politicians, and present their burning questions and opinions within this field.

Upon entering the Minster, pupils commented on the stunning architecture of the building, and the way that it immediately sent them into a quiet state of reflection. However this did not last long, as a fiery debate quickly ensued between the schools and the panel. Sitting this panel was local MP for Leeds central Hilary Benn, Salma Arif who is the Labour councillor for Gipton and Harehills and one of Leeds youngest city councillors, senior community organiser for Leeds Citizens Tom Chigbo, Sociologist of religion Dr Caroline Starkey and senior lecturer in Christian studies Dr Rachel Muirs who hosted the event. The breadth of knowledge and professionalism amongst these panellists did not prevent the students from pressing them about matters close to their own hearts, with questions such as “how is Brexit going to affect our generation?”, “should the legal voting age be lowered” and “should religious people be prevented from expressing their religious beliefs when they are discriminatory and homophobic?” There was no getting away from the line of questioning posed by the pupils and it seemed that everybody in the room was passionate about having their voice heard. It was great to see so much enthusiasm and engagement in current affairs by the Ralph Thoresby students as they represented our school, and themselves skilfully when expressing their opinions on matters such as racism, xenophobia and religious discrimination. This was a great afternoon, looking forward to next year!

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