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A group of students were offered a glimpse into the life of the city’s Lord Mayor when they were invited to visit the Council House.

The seven students make up the Modern Britain council, formed as part of the introduction to Modern Britain into the Social Sciences curriculum.

The College’s local Stoke councillor, Mike Sparling, arranged for the group to visit so they could find out more about how local government works and the roles of councillor and Lord Mayor.

The council - made up of students from Year 7 and 8 - were invited to have afternoon tea with the outgoing Lord Mayor, Councillor Dr John Mahony, in the Lord Mayor’s Parlour where they discussed a number of issues including the role of Lord Mayor, the local elections and the EU referendum.

The students were also given a rare opportunity to see the Astor Diamonds - presented to the people of Plymouth by Lady Astor - up close.

"I think visits like this are very important,” said Cllr Mahony.

Plymouth City Council: Lord Mayor

“I'm especially impressed that they went through an election process to become members of the Modern Britain Council - anything which gets young people engaged with politics and current affairs can only be a good thing.

"They can become involved with the Youth Parliament in the future before eventually becoming full voting citizens at 18."

"I found the students very bright and well-informed," said the Lord Mayor – whose year in office came to an end earlier this month.

"It was a pleasure to meet them."

Cllr Sparling said it was “a delight” to organise the visit to the Council Chamber for the group.

“I hope it will just be the start of my involvement with the College’s Modern Britain council,” he said.

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“It is such an innovative approach to teaching this subject - giving the students an invaluable, practical introduction to important concepts like democracy.

“I hope they enjoyed their visit and that it has sparked an interest in politics and local government which might lead to them becoming involved in the UK Youth Parliament and, who knows, eventually becoming councillors themselves.”

Modern Britain teacher Mrs Burn said the students found the whole experience “amazing”.

“It was literally breath-taking too when they had the chance to see the Astor Diamonds, which are worth hundreds of thousands of pounds,” she said.

"Our students were fantastic in their role as Modern Britain council members.

“We were given a wonderful reception by the Lord Mayor’s mace bearer and we were made to feel very welcome and we all learnt a great deal about the history of the city. 

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“We are extremely grateful to Cllr Mike Sparling for organising the visit and he will be keeping in touch with the Council and helping them with other projects.”
Year 8 student Caleb said it was "very interesting" to meet the Lord Mayor.

"I was fascinated to see the chain that he wears and thought he was very friendly,” said Caleb.

"He seems very calm for such a busy man."

"I would like to come and watch a council meeting from the public gallery - especially now I've actually been in the chamber myself."

Click HERE for the College's Modern Britain statement

Modern Britain Council Meets For The First Time

Stoke Damerel News Archive: Academic Year 2015/16

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