Clayhall pupils grill Matt Hancock and Dominic Raab

Students at Caterham High School quizzed Matt Hancock, Dominic Raab and Baroness Sandy Verma

Pupils at Caterham High School had the chance to quiz leading politicians such as Matt Hancock and Dominic Raab in virtual sessions. - Credit: Tom Barnes

Pupils at Caterham High School got the chance to quiz some of the biggest names in British politics at a series of online seminars run by Naz Legacy Foundation.

Last week, foreign secretary Dominic Raab was asked about his path into politics, his upbringing and his role in government.

A previous session saw health minister Matt Hancock take questions from youngsters at the Clayhall school on the coronavirus pandemic, the vaccination programme and youth mental health.

There was also a talk featuring former minister Baroness Sandy Verma, who was quizzed on feminism and supporting girls at risk of violence overseas.

Pupil Syeda Batool, 17, from Ilford, who took part in the Dominic Raab session, said: “It was a really interesting meeting because there was a lot about him that I did not know.

“He talked about growing up in an average family, not what you expect politicians to grow up in, and how he was not interested in politics in his early life.

“He really impressed me though about how passionate he was and how he wanted to help people. It is not often you get to speak to people with such an important job.”

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Michael Zamfir, 17, from Ilford, said of Matt Hancock: “This is someone we have all seen on television almost every day for a year so it almost feels like you know him.

“He was very good at answering the questions we had and spent a lot of time reassuring us about the vaccine roll out programme.

“I asked him about the programme and why he thought it was such a success and said it was lot to do with the NHS and it being a team effort.”

Farwah Shakeel, 17, from Ilford, asked Baroness Verma about violence against women and young girls overseas.

She said: “I was very impressed with Baroness Verma and the other women on the panel. Seeing how successful they have been is really inspirational.

“When you see women like that being successful but also taking time out to help others in need it really makes you feel like you have a responsibility to do something with your life.”

Headteacher Belinda Chapple said: “This was a wonderful opportunity for our young people. I am always impressed by the maturity of our students, and the compassion they show for others.”

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