Issued: February 10, 2018
Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing takes part in Democracy Day at Roding Valley High School
PICTURES: A selection of pictures for media use can be downloaded HERE
Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing joined students at Roding Valley High School for its Democracy Day.
The day highlighted democracy at all levels - from town, parish, district and county council level to Parliament and Government.
Mrs Laing spoke at an assembly attended by Year 7 students and fielded questions posed by elected Year 7 members of the Form Council.
Questions ranged from how Mrs Laing first became involved in politics to her views on whether Theresa May was a "strong Prime Minister".
Mrs Laing said: "I was delighted to be invited to take part in the day and to meet the young students who are so well versed into politics, and who showed a real passion for politics at all levels.
"I am sure I met some future councillors or even MPs!"
Senior Leadership Team member Kumers Naidoo, who was the co-lead, helped co-ordinate the day and shared his experiences growing up in South Africa under apartheid when there was no democracy.
The event was Roding Valley High School's first ever Sixth Form-led drop-down day with a team of some 30 Sixth Form students helping out.
During the day students took part in workshops - which included debating whether the voting age should be lowered to 16, a move which won the support of students.
Students also discussed the parliamentary system, and took part in a mock political rally when they took on the role of youth councillors for a fictional local authority.
Head Boy Matthew Tinker, who organised the day, said: "Democracy Day was a great success. We began by asking the young people if they knew anything about a democracy and only five people put their hands up.
"By the end of the day all 240 young people felt as though they could put their hand up.
"We had an amazing team of Sixth Form students who taught the students all about their
democratic rights and responsibility. I could not thank them enough."
Judith Hodges, Senior Leadership Team co-lead for the day, said: "I heard one young person saying that this was their ‘best day at school ever!"