A selected group of students from Felpham Community College (FCC) took part in the prestigious Arun Youth Council Debate Event 2018, held at the Arun Civic Centre.
The students were chosen from the FCC Student Council and represented Years Seven, Eight and Nine, as well as the sixth form.
All student attendees took part in a number of debates focusing around current news. These included ‘Teachers and older students should be permitted to vape on school premises’, ‘British Police Forces should be routinely armed to deal with threats to national security’, and ‘Drug cheats in sport should be banned for life’.
Joe Reavey, a Year Nine student who attended the event, said: “This event was a great opportunity to build confidence and voice my opinion about current news. I prepared for the day by reading all the information on the individual debates and I looked at how reliable the sources were (for example some was press opinion and not fact). The event was held in the official council chambers, and we had to press a button if we wished to speak. When our light came on and it was our turn, it was quite scary as there were lots of people there - all looking at you! My favourite debate was about vaping, everyone wanted to talk and voice their opinion, even the teachers who were accompanying the students at the event. There were representatives from Public Health listening to this debate, so we really felt our views were being heard and will be taken into consideration with future plans and policies.”
The FCC Head girl, Maisie O’Neill, further contributed to the day by being a Youth Councillor and taking a lead with running the debates.
Four local schools attended the event as well as Felpham. The council chambers were packed with students enjoyed having the chance to use their voice and get their opinions heard.
Headteacher Mark Anstiss said: “Student voice at FCC is very important. We have a Student Leadership team, Student Council and a Rights Respecting Schools steering group. We take student opinion seriously and students are influential in making decisions. Our student representatives who attended this event were a credit to FCC with the enthusiasm and input they provided on the day and the mature and responsible way they projected their views”.