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Local Democracy Week 2018: Barkingside high school students grill councillors on NHS and Brexit

PUBLISHED: 11:45 16 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:45 16 October 2018

Local councillor Vanisha Solanki talking to students at Caterham High School as part of Local Democracy Week.

Local councillor Vanisha Solanki talking to students at Caterham High School as part of Local Democracy Week.

Archant

From the NHS to Brexit, secondary school pupils are grilling councillors on issues defining their generation as part of Local Democracy Week.

Local councillor Howard Berlin talking to students at Caterham High School as part of Local Democracy Week.Local councillor Howard Berlin talking to students at Caterham High School as part of Local Democracy Week.

Pupils at Caterham High School, in Caterham Avenue, quizzed Conservative councillor for Fairlop Ward Howard Berlin and Labour councillor for Fullwell ward Vanisha Solanki in a Question Time-style debate on Monday, October 15.

Cllr Solanki, who aged 23 is one of the borough’s youngest counillors, said: “It is so important for young people feel a part of the political process.

“So many feel disenfranchised so we have to do everything we can to make them feel involved.

“I hope that because of my age, they are inspired to get involved in politics, either through the youth council or in activism. Cllr Berlin added: “I was so impressed the questions posed by the students today.

Local councillors talking to students at Caterham High School as part of Local Democracy Week.Local councillors talking to students at Caterham High School as part of Local Democracy Week.

“They are clearly very well informed on all the main issues of the day and are able to articulate their opinions and ask really insightful questions.

The event was organised by Redbridge Council’s youth involvement team.

Among the other schools in the borough to hold events were Forest Academy, in Harbourer Road, Chadwell Heath Academy, in Christie Gardens; Wanstead High, in Redbridge Lane West; and Oaks Park High, in Oaks Lane.

Caterham High School student Kishan Sharma, 15, from Gants Hill is the Youth Parliament member for Redbridge.

He said: “Young people have just as much right to have the voice heard and their opinions listened to as any other age group.

“These students talked passionately about the issues that affect them and their community.”

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