One of the joys of being Crawley MP is getting to spend time with our town’s young people at a range of events across the borough.
We have recently had Parliament Week (14th-20th November), where I was pleased to organise the inaugural Inter-School Public Speaking Contest, which took place at the Civic Hall. It was great to see so many young people from Crawley secondaries representing their school to present a speech on the topic of ‘Democracy’.
Students from school years 9, 10 and 11 took part, and each spoke for around ten minutes. It was remarkable to see such knowledge and understanding of our democratic process among the students.
An expert panel of judges including representatives from business and the media, such as BBC Sussex and Central Sussex College – two fields where good communication is of course vital – declared the team from Thomas Bennett Community College to be the winners.
I would like to thank the staff and students from each school for their participation and their time. My gratitude as well to each of the judges for giving up their time, as well as to Crawley Council for providing the venue.
Parliament Week is designed to help connect people with the UK Parliament, and explore what our democratic system means to them and local communities across the country.
Also during the week I had the pleasure of visiting with and answering questions from children from the school councils of Hilltop, The Oaks, The Mill and Bewbush primaries about a range of topics including how Parliament works as well as my own role in the House of Commons, how MPs make laws and hold the Government to account, and letting them know the importance of taking an interest in our local community.
Of course, I am keen to engage with our young people throughout the year, and it is always a pleasure to welcome school groups to the new Parliament Education Centre, and to visit schools myself to answer questions from students (and staff!).