I popped into St Anne’s RC Primary School, in Greenacres, on Monday (11th January) to meet the year 5 and 6 children and discuss democracy, and what ‘fairness’ means to them, in a question and answer session. I was greeted and given a personal tour of the school by the leaders of the School Council, Morgan Muhwati, 10, and Scarlett Warbuton, 11 (pictured left).
Headteacher, Ms Mary Garvey, said: “I was delighted to welcome back our MP, Debbie Abrahams, to school to take part in our questions and answer session. Mrs Abrahams said she was impressed with the questions the children asked and she explained to them the range of her duties and the democratic process in Parliament. I was pleased that the children were able to recognise that we use a similar process in school through the election of our School Council.”
In the Q&A session I was asked a range of questions from: ‘What inspired you to become a Member of Parliament?’ to ‘Do you like Jeremy Corbyn?’. In short the answers from me were: ‘To tackle inequalities in our society.’ and ‘Yes, he’s a very caring, thoughtful man who also entered politics to try and make our society fairer.’
I was also asked: ’Do you think the government are doing enough to support the refugee crisis?’ and I was then told about the discussions the children have had in class about how refugees and asylum seekers are real people in desperate need.
The pupils at St Anne’s were very impressive and their teachers and parents must be very proud of them. The questions they asked showed that they are aware of the issues around democracy and fairness that are affecting us locally, nationally and internationally. For example, they had been involved in a project looking at the problems facing refugees when fleeing their homes and also when they settle in a new place.
I was told about the work the pupils have been doing in class discussing what ‘fairness’ means and I was able to tell them about the work of the Oldham Fairness Commission and how it aims to tackle the inequalities that exist in our own area.
I was so impressed with their opinions around these issues that I’ve invited the school to send representatives to our final public Oldham Fairness Commission session at 10am -12 noon on 29th January at Mahdlo. We need young people to be engaged with politics and the children at St Anne’s have a clear understanding that politics effects everything and how being involved in the democratic process can help shape their own futures.”
The final session of the Oldham Fairness Commission is open to the public at 10am at Mahdlo on 29th January. If you want to join us and take part in building a fairer Oldham, you can RSVP by emailing Harpreet Uppal on firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday 25 January.