In the latest of a series of events involving Eden schools’ students, Rory joined twenty students from schools across the constituency at the Eden Student Conference last Friday at the North Lakes Hotel. Rory chatted with students from Kirkby Stephen Grammar School, Appleby Grammar School, Samuel Kings School, Ullswater Community College and Queen Elizabeth Grammar School during the day-long event designed to encourage young people to think about how their views are represented, and how to make a difference in society.
Rory answered questions on the Big Society, the education system, cuts in public services, and Afghanistan, and commented: “Clearly these are students with real insight into current affairs, and a real interest in the world around them. I was enormously impressed by their insights, and felt that they were taking the event very seriously. Across all sectors of our society – from business, to local government – we need to be doing more to encourage young people to engage in politics and to have a say. This was a really worthwhile event that I was glad to support.”
The conference follows a meeting last month at which Rory introduced acclaimed journalist Simon Jenkins – a columnist at the Guardian newspaper and Chairman of the National Trust – to Eden journalism students, and participated in a conversation with students on writing. Rory Stewart has also been instrumental in backing a youth-run website in collaboration with Eden Youth Work Partnership, which will be working with local schools to create an online platform for young journalists, writers and performers.
Chris Grimes – Eden Area Secondary Headteachers’ Support Office – declared the event on Friday a success, saying: “The general agreement was that Rory’s contribution was one of the best parts of the day, with most students rating the section excellent.”