Article by Rhys Mott, Y10 student
On the 21st October, the Academy’s gifted and talented cohort will have the rare opportunity to meet and ask questions of a member of the House of Lords. The Academy will be welcoming the Lord Greaves, who will be addressing some of the best and brightest students across every year of the Academy about life in the House of Lords, and encouraging students to become more informed and involved in politics and the parliamentary process. After the speech he will take questions from students on the House of Lords, life at Westminster and Parliament in general.
Lord Greaves was born in 1942, and was active in politics as early as 17. He attended Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Wakefield, where he could be found debating at the sixth form. He did not come from a liberal family, but joined the Liberal Democrats after deciding that Labour was in turmoil, and the Conservatives were led by “an old fogey”. He believes that, due to the electoral system, the current composition of the House of Lords actually reflects the way the country votes much more accurately than the Commons. “That’s why I believe we have a perfect democratic legitimacy. If you believe, as I do, that we have a fundamentally corrupt electoral system in this country, I have no conscience at all about voting down proposals that arise from such a system,” and also believes that the House of Lords should have elected members
Lord Greaves’ visit, symptomatic of the Academy’s continued efforts to ensure students are globally engaged and politically aware, will continue the momentum from the key contribution made recently by students across the lower school who voted on the key priorities that informed the UK Youth Parliament mandate. The visit was arranged through the Lord Speaker’s “Peers in Schools” programme, which has been running all over the UK since 2007. So far, 75,000 people have been involved. This programme sends members of the House of Lords into schools, academies, and colleges all over the country to give talks in support of the curriculum, and to encourage young people to be more involved in politics.
As the Principal of the Academy, Andrew O’Brien, said earlier this week.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for our students to interact with someone who knows the parliamentary system inside out as it can sometimes seem far removed from their daily lives. We are delighted to be welcoming Lord Greaves and very much look forward to hearing about life in the House of Lords, as well as showing him the fantastic progress being made here at Accrington Academy”.
As an introduction to the visit, some students have been presenting to all year groups in assemblies, discussing Parliament and Lord Greaves’ role.