Today Harry chaired a session with young people and the Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Andy Burnham MP. In his opening statement Harry talked about the way young people feel that they are being disproportionately affected by the current cuts, especially in education. The loss of EMA, tuition fee rises and the shutting down of the Connexions Service here in Sheffield, were all highlighted. Harry congratulated the Shadow Secretary for taking part in this forum, and for the support he’s shown young people in his campaigns.
Andy Burnham spoke about his role as Shadow Education Secretary and the issues important to him in education, primarily the belief in a well rounded education as opposed to prescriptive one. Harry then opened the floor to questions from young people to be answered by Andy. The small group of ten young people asked about private education, Andy’s and Labour’s commitment to paid internships, free schools, the BSF programme and child poverty, among other topics. Andy also brought up the issue of the English Baccalaureate and the prescriptive nature of this measure, which leaves out music and other arts subjects from the core curriculum.
“Not only was the session great because of Andy Burnham’s contribution and clear committment to the causes important to young people, but I was extremely proud to see young people at their best, engaging in politics. It was an excellent opportunity for them to talk to someone willing to provide an alternative to the stream of education cuts coming from Westminster. These sorts of events where politicians and young people share ideas are exactly the sort of thing we need more of, and I commend both Andy and the young people present for taking part and showing a constructive way forward for education and politics as a whole”