by Fr Chris Hughes, School governor
During the National Election campaign, Tyne and Wear Citizens were given a promise from local MP Alan Campbell that he would meet with them after the election. We met at St Thomas More RC Academy in North Shields on September 15th 2017.
The previous day, 30 students from St Thomas More had a two hour session where we sought to develop skills needed in meeting people with power. At first they were a bit unsure, but once they realised that they had the power to speak on issues that mattered to them and that they could ask the MP to do things, the transformation and energy in them was amazing.
The pupils decided to focus their attention on Mental Health Provision and Tuition fees. At the meeting they spoke with eloquence, passion and compassion. It was at the end of the meeting, when one of the pupils fed back all the things Mr Campbell had promised to do during the conversation, and he duly started writing them down on his notepad, that I appreciated that these young people were making their MP accountable. They also got a promise from Mr Campbell to meet again in 3 months’ time.
The sense of empowerment and growth in confidence in these young people was amazing, and their teachers were clearly very proud of them too – wonderful!