Model Westminster Reform Event Roundup

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Model Westminster Reform Event Roundup

On the 4th of September Model Westminster held an event within the Department for Education to gauge the views which students have on the forthcoming reforms to education. The make-up of the attendees ranged from those currently in secondary education; those who are about to leave for University and those who have graduated. Such a make-up resulted in this event being peppered with diverse, challenging questions and equally interesting answers.

The timetable for the day was fast paced and, although carrying an underlying serious tone, several of the tasks allowed and encouraged the students to utilise their creative (some may say eccentric) ways of dealing with issues that affect them in their student and educational life. The attendees were split into groups and were given tasks to complete. The tasks were as follows:

 

  • How could subjects within schools be improved? Each group was given a certain subject to discuss in order to raise ideas on  how to improve them from a student’s perspective. Ideas were as varied as changing how such a subject was examined, improving the standing of the subject and how it is perceived, to more practical based teaching methods.

 

  • Do the Reforms achieve what they set out to do? The students then had a chance to view the planned reforms for different subjects, which opened the floor for debate. Opinions varied from group to group,  but it was clear that although opinions differed, they were backed with reasonable and persuasive arguments.

 

  • Improving the decision making relationship: The next question raised was how the decision making relationship between pupils, headteachers and local government be improved? For the most part, the students felt that they lack the influence to have a considerable say on matters important to them: this task enabled them to opportunity to come up with solutions. The solutions which came out of the debates were both pragmatic and ‘out of the box’, as they covered improving existing structures (school councils, for example) to fresh ideas utilising social tools such as coffee shops and the internet.

 

  • Equality and Inequality within education: For the closing task, groups were assigned ‘protected characteristics’ and a fact sheet with relevant statistics and legislative information in order to carry out an informed discussion on education (with the prospect of these reforms on the horizon) and equality. Once the groups had digested the information and came to a conclusion, they had the opportunity to convey their views through practical means; this resulted in the day ending amidst several varying interpretations of “practical means”. We had a monologue, speeches and, at one point, a drama with musical accompaniment.  All this, however, was underpinned with serious positions on this issue of  equality within education.

 

As ever, Model Westminster could not have been able to run such an event without the assistance of the Department for Education and their employee, for both the use of their headquarters and valuable input.

The MW Reform event was facilitated by Ayath, Fifi, Natalia, Lola, Jamie, Cameron, Jack, Ammarah, Hana and Merhawit.

Of course, the final thank you is reserved for our ambassadors and students who turned up on the day and fully engaged with the tasks. Thank you all for making this a rewarding event to run.

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