Pupils put questions at democratic debate

Students question time at North Tyneside Council showing North Tyneside Mayor Norma Redfearn.'REF 1610145845
Students question time at North Tyneside Council showing North Tyneside Mayor Norma Redfearn.'REF 1610145845

Quizzical youngsters in North Tyneside have hailed the first ever ‘Young Question Time’ a huge success.

The event saw students from five borough middle and high schools quiz a panel of politicians and experts during a lively two-hour debate in the format of the BBC’s Question Time.

Hosted by BBC Look North reporter Adrian Pitches, the event formed part of North Tyneside Council’s work to mark European Local Democracy Week.

Young people aged ten to 17 asked their own questions, covering a range of subjects from job creation and lowering the voting age, to re-branding the borough and tackling anti-social behaviour.

Students from Churchill Community College, George Stephenson High School, Kings Priory School, Marden High School, Norham High School, Seaton Burn Community College and Valley Gardens Middle School all attended.

Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “I was extremely impressed by the questions that were put to the panel.

“All of the young people who took part acted maturely and intelligently and were a credit to their schools and the borough.”

“I hope everyone enjoyed the event as much as I did, and I look forward to similar events in the future.”

Chief Inspector Steve Readdie, from North Tyneside Area Command, who represented Northumbria Police on the panel, added: “This was a great opportunity for young people to speak to police and other agencies about a wide variety of topics face to face.

“By speaking to the panel on a personal level like this, it can help to break down any potential barriers.

“It was an excellent chance to engage with youngsters and find out what issues are affecting them and that they want to know more about.”

The Young Question Time panel included Mayor Norma Redfearn; Conservative member for Tynemouth ward, Coun David Lilly; Labour member for Killingworth ward Coun Gary Bell; Dean Titterton, chief executive YMCA North Tyneside; Wendy Burke, consultant in Public Health for North Tyneside; and Chief Inspector Steve Readdie.