Sixth formers at Brentford School for Girls quizzed politicians on some hot topics during a visit this week.
Students welcomed Labour's parliamentary candidate for Brentford & Isleworth Ruth Cadbury who was joined by shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and Labour's parliamentary candidate for Feltham & Heston Seema Malthora who is also shadow home minister for preventing violence against women and girls, on Wednesday (April 29).
The youngsters covered a range of issues in the 40-minute Q&A session from the NHS, housing, tax and inequality to tuition fees, zero-hour contracts and voting at 16, ahead of the general election on May 7.
Sixth former Sian Whitmore said: “It was interesting to hear Ruth Cadbury speak and I appreciated the opportunity to have my views listened to and to be able to discuss the issues affecting me and other young people.”
The visit also dicussed Labour's plans to introduce mandatory sex and relationship education in all state schools where Ms Malhotra talked about the Girls Safety Summits she has been running across the country, and asked the students their opinion and experiences on gender based violence.
Ms Cadbury said: “I have visited several schools throughout this campaign, and I have been struck by the level of knowledge and engagement the students have with the issues that matter to them. The idea that young people don’t care is simply not true.”
One student questioned if people would be informed enough at 16 to vote, while another inquired about the best way to reduce inequality.
Ms Cooper added: “We had a very good discussion, and the students were clearly passionate and engaged.
"We talked about tuition fees, apprenticeships, the NHS, housing and votes at 16.
"This election is about the kind of Government they want as they head towards university, an apprenticeship and into the workplace.
"That’s why it’s so important to talk to young people about Labour’s better plan to ensure our young people have the best opportunity possible.”
Headteacher Marais Leender said the visit stamped the importance of young people having a voice in politics and was a fantastic experience for the students.
"The students listened with interest and challenged some of the Labour party views around poverty and the distribution of wealth, university fees and the view that young people should be able to vote at 16 - interestingly most of the students were in favour of this idea," said Ms Leender.
"The session ended with the students taking memorable photos around the Pink bus, which blended well with the Brentford pink which is a trademark of Brentford School for Girls."
Students of voting age said they would be voting for the first time next week.