16 December 2019

Some of our sixth formers have taken part in a news item for ITV Westcountry, talking about the experience of using their vote for the first time in the General Election.

Six students were interviewed by Westcountry reporter and presenter, Claire Manning, the morning after the 12 December election. Three of the sixth formers - Brandon, Megan and Holly - only turned 18 in December. Macie and twins Ethan and Cody all had their 18th birthdays in October.

In their interviews, they explained why they felt it was so important to cast their vote and have their say about the future of the country. Megan said: “I don’t understand why people don’t use their vote, and then complain about things.” Brandon added: “It felt empowering, going in there and putting an X in the box. It only takes 10 seconds, so why wouldn’t you do it?”

Among the issues the students considered were the environment, climate change, the NHS and the UK’s relationship with Europe. Megan said: “It seems like no-one is really doing anything about the climate crisis, so I was glad to finally have the chance to express my opinion on that.”

Holly felt the same sense of frustration, listening to all the debates about the future and not having a say: “The two big voting issues for me are climate change and education, because I hope to go to University,” she said.

Macie added: “Just being able to get my voice across is so important to me. People have died to get us this right.” Ethan and Cody agreed, saying that “everyone deserves a voice” and “everyone’s voice matters”.

Head of the Sixth Form, Mr Tinkler, said: “As part of our wider curriculum programme, the students do work on democracy and voting rights, and it is regularly talked about in Assemblies. Every student will do a two-hour democracy session, so they can formulate their own views and go on to use their vote and be part of their society.

“We also look at how we’ve reached this point in democracy, for example, how women got the vote and how, in some parts of the world, voting is celebrated as a human right, which it is. We say: “It doesn’t matter how you vote, as long as you do vote to express your choice.”