The Year 13 Politics class completed a very fulfilling and successful day at Stormont. The students were treated to a tour of Parliament Buildings including both the Assembly and old Senate chambers by our terrific host from the Northern Ireland Education Service, Anne-Marie Fleming. As a sign of things to come perhaps, when in the Assembly chamber, Katie Patience unwittingly took her place in the First Minister’s seat whilst Eve Maguire took the seat of the Deputy First Minister!

The students also listened to an educational presentation about how the Assembly functions before they had an opportunity to grill the politicians in a Question & Answer session. The questions posed by our Year 13 students were excellent and the politicians were noticeably impressed and pensive in equal measure as they responded.

Claire Hanna of the SDLP was the first MLA to give her time over to our students and she faced a variety of tough questions about the decline of the SDLP, what the future holds for it and her stance on the BREXIT referendum.

Green Party Councillor and a candidate in the forthcoming Assembly elections, Ross Brown, faced similar great questions on Assembly scrutiny and  BREXIT but also on education and fuel poverty.

Following Ross Brown, the students were treated to an opportunity to speak with a real political heavy weight of the past 40 years with the arrival of Michael McGimpsey (UUP) a former Executive Minister in the first mandate of 1999-2002 and then again in 2007-2011. Mr McGimpsey’s credentials did not enable him to get off the hook with our Politics students however as they fielded tough questions on BREXIT, bonfires, parliamentary scrutiny, the decline of the UUP, contentious parades and the position of the UUP on SF being in government.

Anna Lo of Alliance was put through similar tough questions on BREXIT, a shared future and committee work and was very impressed by the calibre of our students. Finally, it should also be noted that the students also had an opportunity to Q&A a committee clerk, Lucia Wilson, from the extremely influential Public Accounts Committee. She provided the students some excellent material on committee work for their exams.

The Politics students and teacher, Mr McGrath, are very grateful to the SDLP, UUP, The Green Party & Alliance for agreeing to send a representative to speak with us during an extremely busy period as the Assembly approaches dissolution ahead of the May elections. Thank you.