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BHS Students Immersed in Parliament Week

Beaconsfield High School took part in the national Parliament Week awareness campaign in November to encourage students to develop their knowledge and perception of British Parliament and international politics.

Throughout the week, students participated in a range of fun and engaging form time activities, including discussions and debates about current democratic issues. Students contested an array of questions, including “Should 16 year olds be allowed to vote?”, which provoked many passionate and well-argued responses. Other issues such as whether there is race and gender equality within parliament were also deliberated and during one form time the students took part in a group quiz, testing their knowledge of the parliamentary structure.

One of the key highlights of Parliament Week was a guest appearance from performance storyteller Anna Conomos, who spoke in character as Emma Sporson, a socialist and suffragette. Emma recalled exciting and unique stories about her life and work and encouraged students to participate in her fun chant of ‘Votes for women!’. The performance finale was an interactive session where the students further questioned Emma in her life and experience as a suffragette.

Rachel Smith, Headteacher, feels passionately about encouraging the girls’ school’s population to explore politics: “In a society where there is still disparity between men and women, we must engender the next generation of voters to not only comprehend politics and its wider societal impact but, even more importantly, encourage a passion to evolve and improve. The gender gap – in salaries, career opportunities and even acceptable behaviours – directly impacts our students, but a solid grasp of politics and empathy with other societal groups and issues also develops in our students important life skills: tolerance, respect, debate and the confidence to stand up for theirs and others rights.”

The school’s active Politics Society also organised various events throughout the week, including a political debate, which encouraged students from all years to discuss and share their knowledge on current political issues and a showing of the documentary How Donald Trump Won the Election, which was attended by students from across all years.

Elsewhere, the school has just introduced a Political Philosophy club in response to student demand. Year 11 through to Year 13 are invited to attend and debate, at the most abstract level, concepts, arguments and ideologies used in political debate. Liberalism, Marxism, Anarchism and Fascism are all up for discussion.

Sixth Former Emily Bench contributed to this article.