The Regis School pupils debate at Westminster

Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament

A group of students from The Regis School will be joining 80 other students from schools across the country at Westminster on July 9 to take part in a debate at the Houses of Parliament.

The Youth Debate – on the importance of religious education – will be hosted by William Wragg MP, and chaired by Sixth Form students trained in handling opinionated pupil and politicians.

The students will be accompanied by specialist RE teacher Crystal Twinn for the debate, but the only voices heard will be the students and guest delegates, comprising politicians and educationalists, as well as theologian and broadcaster, Francesca Stavrakopoulou from the University of Exeter.

The students are also hoping to get the chance to meet local MP Nick Gibb, who has been invited to attend the debate and meet them afterwards.

Teacher Joanne Harris, who took part in a previous debate, said: “Religious literacy has become a vital skill in today’s modern, global world, whether you want to become a medic, work in business, or take a role in the community.

“Understanding different worldviews also plays an important role in combatting extremism in all its forms.”

The debate is being staged by the National Association of Teachers of RE (NATRE) and the Religious Education Council of England and Wales (REC) and follows a similar successful event in Parliament in 2016.

NATRE chairman Ben Wood said: “Politicians and opinion formers frequently discuss what religious education should look like in schools. The debate is an opportunity for the young people, who are directly affected by these decisions, to discuss their views on the need for religious literacy in the twenty-first century.

“The debate showed just how much young people value discussing big issue.”