Date Posted: Saturday 11 March 2023
Our Sixth Form Question Time debate in March 2023 was fascinating. We were joined by journalist and author, Simon Heffer, who started the session with a thought-provoking talk about the importance of free speech. Simon has written for The Daily Mail, Evening Standard and The Times; has been Deputy Editor of the Daily Telegraph and The Spectator; written biographies of Vaughan Williams, Enoch Powell and Thomas Carlyle; and is a regular contributor to Radio 4’s Any Questions and Question Time on BBC1. A close observer of the world in Westminster, Simon also shared his distinctive take on the current state of British politics.
The motion for debate was This House believes private schools should not lose their charitable status. Joining Simon to consider this topic were Year 13 students, Felicity J, Katherine H, Maxim S and Tia Y, and Marie Goldman, Deputy Leader of Chelmsford City Council and joLiberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Chelmsford at the next election, and Penelope Richards from the Labour Party. Passionate and eloquent debate was followed by equally passionate and eloquent questions from the floor.
Perhaps fortuitously, lunchtime intervened before the Chair, Mr Bowman, was able to put the motion to a vote. At lunch, our guests were generous with their time, engaging with a large number of Sixth Form students to discuss a wide variety of topics including the political landscape, how to engage with politicians, and tips for writing books. We were proud of the spirited independence of thinking displayed by our students.