Year 11 pupils from the Louth schools came together to discuss the topic of whether the voting age should be lowered to 16 years, and the advantages and disadvantages on both sides of the arguments.
The pupils took their places to form a model of the House of Commons chamber to persuade the other side and the panel made up of Victoria Atkins MP, Mr Jeffrey (King Edward VI Grammar School), Ms Kendall (Louth Academy) and Mr Dickinson (Louth Academy) of their thoughts.
All those involved enjoyed having the opportunity to practice their debating skills in front of their peers and the panel, with certificates provided for the best debater, most persuasive, and best negotiator.
The event formed part of the celebrations to mark the centenary of Margaret Wintringham’s election, where she became the third woman elected to Parliament, and only the second woman (and first British-born woman) to actually take her seat in the House of Commons, after winning the Louth by-election exactly one hundred years ago on September 22, 1921.
The event took place with the backdrop of Ms Atkins’ exhibition on Margaret Wintringham, which can be viewed in St James’ Church until Saturday (September 25).
Victoria Atkins MP said: “I thoroughly enjoyed hosting pupils from both Louth Academy and King Edward VI Grammar School for our debate.
“It was a pleasure to listen to young people express their opinions and thoughts with such passion and conviction on both sides of the debate.
“I would like to thank both schools for taking part - I think we have some bright stars to look out for in the House of Commons in the future!”
Following the debate on the topic of lowering the voting age, Louth Academy student Arabella Bishop (15) said: “I think it should happen and the reason for that being because you are given so many responsibilities within society that can make you struggle so much. Why then shouldn’t you be able to make decisions within that society?
“I know people that have had to struggle with teenage pregnancy and have had to do so many things but they have not been able to make decisions for their children or make proper decisions for the world they live in.”
Jasmine Dodds (15) agreed: “We are treated like adults in so many ways, doing exams that are going to determine our future, so why can’t we vote because that will also determine our future in a bigger, more impactful way. We have so many responsibilities and those who are mature enough to and will make proper decisions that will benefit our society are the ones who will show up and vote.”
Principal of Louth Academy, Philip Dickinson, concluded: “It was a pleasure to be invited to take part in this event and to tour the exhibition with Victoria Atkins.
“The students were very enthusiastic in their opinions and I am proud of how they stood up for themselves and put across some very credible arguments during the debate.”
• Our thanks goes to Louth Academy for providing the video from last Friday’s event.