We must encourage debate, says school headmaster

Jack Williams head teacher at Hipperholme Grammar School
Jack Williams head teacher at Hipperholme Grammar School

We were delighted to welcome Craig Whittaker MP to the school last week, writes Hipperholme Grammar School headmaster Jack Williams.

He engaged a group of pupils in a question and answer session in which he was quizzed on all manner of topics, some not altogether comfortable “scripted questions”.

Although we, in schools, must ensure that our own particular views are not presented to pupils as “correct”, I believe it is essential for the democracy we cherish that children are shown the correct way to debate and form conclusions.

We have seen too much in the national press about schools which are “radicalising” students in their care and not enough about the vast majority who are enabling their students to become reasoned adults with the ability to agree, disagree or abstain from any issue which presents itself.

I know of some schools who will not be holding “mock” elections later this year for fear of causing conflict but I am certain that without reasoned and civil argument they, as potential voters of the future, will not be able to truly exercise their rights.

I look forward to seeing how our young people decide in comparison to the country as a whole in May.