On 12 October 2016, we attended Bangor Grammar School’s Question Time event to raise money for their upcoming trip to Washington. We had the opportunity to question Steven Agnew (Green Party), Peter Weir (DUP), Claire Hanna (SDLP), Stephen Farry (Alliance), Alan Chambers (UUP) and Catríona Ruane (Sinn Féin). The event was chaired by BBC journalist Stephen Walker.
Each MLA got a chance to speak on the topic. One question focused on US politics, asking “What will be the repercussions if Donald Trump becomes president?” All MLAs were in agreement, stating that it would bring disastrous consequences. An alternative point of view was brought in by an audience member asking “What about the negative aspects of Hillary Clinton, for example the 35,000 leaked emails scandal?” Peter Weir commented that she would be ‘the lesser of two evils’, while the other MLAs answered along the same lines.
Another question asked was “Do you believe that bringing back grammar schools under Theresa May was a good idea?” This posed a controversial issue to the MLAs with a wide variety of opinions, some opposing grammar schools and others agreeing with the new education system in England. A pupil from Glenlola, Lauren Irvine, posed a question to the MLAs “If we stop streaming in schools, how will we know who wants to get an education and who doesn’t?”, which didn’t receive a clear answer!!
Overall this was a great experience for students of both AS and A2 Politics due to the wide variety of questions and opportunity to meet local MLAs.
Emma Belshaw (13A) and Laura Neill (13D)