Oaks Park sixth formers question Redbridge politicians for Local Democracy Week
PUBLISHED: 16:25 20 October 2016 | UPDATED: 17:27 20 October 2016
As part of Local Democracy Week, students at Oaks Park Sixth Form had a chance to make their voices heard, grilling a group of Redbridge politicians on everything from pot holes to the government’s plans for grammar schools.
Speaking at the school in Oaks Lane, Newbury Park, were Ilford North Labour MP Wes Streeting, Redbridge Council’s Conservative group leader Cllr Paul Canal and Lib Dem group leader Cllr Ian Bond.
Regarding issues such as problems with road surfaces in the borough, traffic and a dedicated school bus the three were largely in agreement that the council’s budget was already stretched thin.
However, when the government’s plans to bring back grammar schools were touched upon by student Neha Shahzad of class 121, the three were in disagreement.
Cllr Canal, who acknowledged that as a former grammar school student he held an interest in the matter, said: “Here in Redbridge we are massively oversubscribed for grammar school places, which is testament to how good ours are.
“I support grammar schools because I think for many they are the best form of education.
However, Mr Streeting held starkly contrasting views.
“There is categoric evidence that grammar schools do not work. They are almost exclusively for the wealthy, and those students at grammar schools who are not wealthy end up struggling and get left behind.
“I cannot understand why this government would continue to back a policy that has been proven not to work.”
Cllr Bond then defended the Lib Dems’ record of voting to help the younger generation, despite a Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government raising tuition fees in 2012.
He said: “I accept that we made a mistake on tuition fees and we should have been more honest about that, but we have always worked with the best interests of younger people in mind and will continue to do so.”
Also on the panel were police constables Daniel Scripps and Saxon North-Cornell who fielded questions on how students can stay safe this Halloween given the recent threat of so-called killer clowns.
“What it is is youngsters such as yourselves looking to get a few more hits on their YouTube channels.
“But if they are causing you to be afraid, or they are carrying weapons or replica weapons then that is an offence and you should contact the police.”
However, Pc North-Cornell emphasised that no criminal incidents involving those dressed in clown costumes had been reported to Redbridge police.
To read the full report on this afternoon’s debate, pick up a copy of next week’s Ilford Recorder.
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