Member of Parliament recreates front benches for The Purbeck School Sixth Form

When Michael Tomlinson MP arrived at The Purbeck School, he transformed the Purbeck Hall into the debating chamber at the Houses of Parliament. Students faced each other on different sides of the House, taking their seats as Ministers, Backbenchers and Members of the Opposition, in order to resemble a Parliamentary question time and learn how debate can influence results. They learnt the meaning behind well-known phrases such as “Tow the Party line” and how MPs put their questions into a ballot box to be asked of the Minister of the day.

Students asked questions of the MP on his stance on different issues covering areas from school funding, gender equalities, Police numbers to his voting patterns on bills relating to the Environment.

Product Design student, Sam Willcocks, asked Mr Tomlinson “What things have you done in your time as an MP that has had an effect on my education?”  In response, Mr Tomlinson detailed how he had been campaigning for Fairer Funding for Schools in the run up to the 2015 Election and believed that there was still much work needed to achieve what he thought was a fair system. Funding is allocated according to a Fairer Funding Formula, taking into account matters such as levels of deprivation in the school catchment and children with special needs amongst other issues.

Headteacher Mr Adam Darley stated: “It was lovely to welcome Michael back to the school, once again enthusing our students to be politically active.  It was also interesting to hear his thoughts on school funding which has been an issue that is of considerable concern to all schools.  Dorset remains one of the most poorly funded educational areas in the country and it was good to see Michael recognise this in his answers.  I look forward to him campaigning on our behalf in the future”.

The event was organised by Head Boy, Josh Turner, who, along with The Purbeck School, would like to say thank you to Michael Tomlinson for taking the time to visit the Sixth Form students.

“The whole experience has definitely inspired many students to take a greater interest in politics in the future,” commented Head of Sixth Form Mrs Debs Rayner.

Mr Tomlinson left the children with one request – to watch Prime Minister Questions on Wednesdays at 12pm which is an excellent demonstration of democracy in evidence.

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