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St John’s Lower Sixth pupils were lucky to attend two fantastic politics trips over the last two weeks.
On Friday 24 February, eighteen politics pupils visited the UK Supreme Court to take part in a ‘debate day’. The pupils were divided into teams of judges, appellants and respondents. With the help of a team of barristers they prepared their arguments and then made their case in the court that hosted the recent Brexit case.
The complex arguments were well posed by both sides and the outcome seemed in the balance. In the end the judges sided with the respondents, justifying their decision with a cleverly argued summary. As the barristers themselves agreed, all the St John’s pupils performed with distinction and it was a thoroughly enjoyable day that many will remember for quite some time.
On the 10 March, 29 politics pupils visited Admiralty House to participate in the Cabinet Office’s ‘spending challenge’, guided by experienced civil servants from departments including Business, Cyber Security and Counter Terrorism. Carolina Bond (South) and Rhianna Hyde (South) were designated rival Chancellors under the instruction to make £20 billion in cuts, while the remaining pupils were representing ministerial departments including the Ministry of Defence, Business, Environment and Education. All departments were vying to gain additional funding.
While Rhianna, ably supported by Magnus Merryweather (Surrey), opted for a hard negotiating style, Carolina, supported by William Groothedde (North) approached the negotiations in a more diplomatic manner. At the end of the day, following excellent presentations, Carolina Bond presented the winning budget, which with the aid of spin made even the most drastic cuts sound positive for the economy and country.
This fantastic opportunity has given St. John’s politics pupils an excellent insight into the work of leading civil servants and the working world of politics in an impressive setting.
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