Sixth-form students question Sheffield Hallam candidates ahead of general election

Politically minded sixth-form students have spent some time questioning the electoral candidates for Sheffield Hallam as part of their preparation for the forthcoming general election.

Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 5:05 pm

Tapton School, in Crosspool, hosted an election hustings on Friday, December 6, in which students questioned candidates for the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Green and Brexit parties who are battling to win the Sheffield Hallam seat in the general election on December 12.

The hustings was the culmination of a series of events run by the school to develop the political literacy of the current Year 13, many of whom will be eligible to vote on Thursday.

Before the event students were given the chance to view each party manifesto but were not told which party they were from, before voting for the policy they agreed with.

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Hustings for the general election held with the candidates for the Sheffield Hallam seat at Tapton School

Subject Leader of Politics Andrew Boutle said: “We’ve been trying really hard to push political engagement and citizenship with all our Year 13’s, not just our politics students. A third of them are able to vote and we are trying to get as many registered and voting as possible. It’s just such an exciting achievement for them and brings politics to life.

“Loads of studies show that if people vote in their first election they will continue to vote through their lives so this is how we create political citizens. Lots of them can vote and those that can’t wish they could so that’s what we want.”

On the panel were Terence McHale, who is standing for the Brexit party, Ian Walker, for the Conservatives, Olivia Blake for Labour and Laura Gordon for the Liberal Democrats while Christine Gilligan Kubo, who is the candidate for the Green party in the Brightside and Hillsborough constituency, stepped in for Natalie Morris, candidate for the Green party in Sheffield Hallam, who could not attend.

Following a three minute pitch from each candidate, Tapton students spent nearly an hour questioning the party members.

One student quizzed the candidates on whether their parties would bring about electoral reforms, while another spoke of Boris Johnson and his comments about women who wear burkas, asking candidates their opinion to which they all echoed a similar message of support for different races and religions.