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Harlesden secondary school holds first parliamentary debate and elects student prime minister

PUBLISHED: 17:54 22 January 2019 | UPDATED: 18:28 22 January 2019

Convent of Jesus and Mary Language College pupil stands to make a speech at the school's first Student Parliament event.
Picture: CJMLC

Convent of Jesus and Mary Language College pupil stands to make a speech at the school's first Student Parliament event. Picture: CJMLC

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Pupils at a Harlesden secondary school held their first parliament debate - and got a pledge from their MP that they could hold the next one at the House of Commons.

Dawn Butler MP attended Convent of Jesus and Mary Language College's first Student Parliament event.
Picture: CJMLC Dawn Butler MP attended Convent of Jesus and Mary Language College's first Student Parliament event. Picture: CJMLC

Dawn Butler was a special guest at the Convent of Jesus and Mary Language College in Crownhill Road on January 18 as it launched its new student parliament.

Created to mirror the British Political system the school now has 72 democratically elected student MPs divided into six house political parties.

Following fiercely active campaigning by the six political “house” parties, the whole school voted in its first student prime minister Joana Reis, head of Katherine House.

She said: “I strongly believe this will be a great year for Convent history because students now have a real voice and our school wants to hear what we have to say.”

Convent of Jesus and Mary Language College stands to make a speech at the school's first Student Parliament event. Picture: CJMLCConvent of Jesus and Mary Language College stands to make a speech at the school's first Student Parliament event. Picture: CJMLC

Louise McGowan, head, said: “It is important to teach children about democracy in a fun and engaging way.

“Too many people do not understand the workings of our country’s political system so using the framework of a mock Parliament has allowed our students to experience a parliamentary debate, and to participate in holding the Student Government to account in our very own Prime Minister’s Questions.

“Dawn Butler has been so supportive of our idea and has offered the Student Parliament the opportunity to hold their next debate inside the Houses of Parliament.”

The main topic of the student debate was the impact of the EU Settlement Scheme which Prime Minister Theresa May announced will be scrapped at commons meeting on Monday, two days after the school debate was aired on BBC television.

Ms McGowan added: “We would like to think the voice of the youth heard in a fair, principled and measured way, might have influenced this decision!”

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