Students debate issues at assembly

Students from Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College were among those who attended the Youth Assembly at the Hancock Museum in Newcastle. Picture by Emma Williams.
Students from Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College were among those who attended the Youth Assembly at the Hancock Museum in Newcastle. Picture by Emma Williams.

Students at Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College in North Shields joined teenagers from five other education providers for a unique Youth Assembly that debated important issues facing society.

Around 150 students aged between 14 and 18 took part in the event, which discussed matters such as crime, inequality and sexual harassment, at the Hancock Museum in Newcastle.

It was organised by the British Sociological Association (BSA) and supported by academics from universities in the North East region, who led the debates, and schools and colleges in Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham and Northumberland, as well as Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College.

The aim of the event, which could be a pilot for other assemblies held throughout Britain, was to bring together some young people who all have an interest in social sciences at GCSE, A-Level and beyond.

Stephanie Rich, the BSA’s public engagement officer, said the event had been a success.

“It was impressive to see the students debating such important issues knowledgeably and passionately,” she added.

“The Youth Assembly wasn’t about academics teaching students – the students needed no prompting to talk about how their own experiences were linked to wider issues in society.”

The BSA is now evaluating the event and developing guidance to share with universities that want to develop their public engagement.