Students from BCHS joined with students from six other Blackburn with Darwen secondary schools to take part in a Question Time style event at Blackburn Town Hall.
The event was part of the Schools Working Together project, which brought together students from Blackburn Central High School, Our Lady & St John Catholic College, Pleckgate High School, Westholme School, Witton Park Academy, St Thomas’s Centre, and Islamiyah Girls’ High School.
Students have been meeting every six weeks to debate issues that affect them, including mental health support, social media and crime.
The panel included Liam Duffy from education charity Since 9/11, Jo Balsys from the Department for Education, Counter Terrorism Police representative Gary Dunnagan, Paul Lee and Rebecca Ramsay from Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s Community Safety team, and Imran Akuji from Children’s Services.
The students asked the panel many though-provoking and challenging questions, which covered staying safe online, equality, multiculturalism, fake news, radicalisation and extremism.
Leanne Romney, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s Prevent Education Officer, said:
The Schools Working Together project aims to bring together young people from different backgrounds who may otherwise have no opportunity to form friendships and working relationships with one another. Through collaborating on a shared project, they have developed their communication skills while discussing the issues that they feel affect them the most and exploring common views.
To see them so confidently putting their questions to our panel at the Question Time event made me feel incredibly proud. They have handled some serious topics with real maturity and certainly given the adults plenty to think about by sharing their own opinions.
All of the students are currently preparing for a Schools Working Together conference, taking place at Ewood Park in March 2019.