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Senior government advisor joins politics students’ debate



Photograph shows: Mark Walport with student debators, Ami Clarkson, D J Hanson,

Michael Ayodeji and Philip Cornish


Government and politics students from Birmingham Metropolitan College shared their opinions and insights with the government’s most senior scientist when he spent a morning participating in their debates and discussions. Professor Sir Mark Walport, the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, chaired the final of the A level students’ inter-campus debating competition and a led a roundtable discussion on the future of cities.

“It was a pleasure to spend time absorbing the views and thoughts of these young representatives of the city,” he commented. “Their eagerness to discuss a range of issues around the future vision of Birmingham was good to see and will contribute to the Foresight project my office is currently working on.

He continued: “I was also particularly impressed with the four competition debaters, who delivered concise, well-rounded arguments for both sides of the motions on Birmingham’s HS2 line and devolution across the UK; two highly relevant and significant topics.”

“There’s nothing like the actual experience of debating, especially in front of a prominent figure,” added student, Michael Ayodeji, one of the debate competition winners. “My teammate, Philip and I were really honoured by Sir Mark’s presence and delighted he crowned us champions. We found the whole experience a rewarding one, as he was positive about our debating skills and gave us some excellent feedback about how well we might have performed in a more official setting, such as in the House of Lords.

“The Future of Cities foresight project is a fascinating one that we were pleased to contribute our opinions to.”
Following his visit to the college’s Matthew Boulton Campus, Sir Mark Walport spent time meeting Year 11 students at Harborne Academy, which the college sponsors.
Andrew Cleaves, Principal and Chief Executive of Birmingham Metropolitan College commented: “Having a senior government advisor leading these debates was of real benefit to the students as they gained a better understanding of the work that foresight scanning plays in shaping future policies and legislation.

“We were also pleased to showcase some of Harborne Academy’s innovative learning programmes, which we know are addressing the skills gaps faced by certain industries and supporting the future growth of local sectors, including those linked to medicine and science.”



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