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15 June, 2007

St Michaels Specialist Science School wins Youth Parliament Competition

St Michael’s School in Stockton has been named the overall winner in the Citizenship Foundation’s National Youth Parliament Competition.

Knowsley Youth Parliament and Pershore High School have been named joint runners up and the Stanway School in Colchester has won the ‘Question Time’ category.

St Michael’s and Simon Langton School for boys picked up the Individual awards:

‘Best Prime Minister’

Christopher O’Brien, Simon Langton School for Boys

‘Best Leader of the Opposition’

Michael Sweetman, Simon Langton School for Boys

‘Best Speaker’

Hannah Proctor, St Michael’s Specialist Science School

‘Best Opposition Spokesperson’

Daniel Kirby, St Michael’s Specialist Science School

‘Best opening speech by a Minister’

Sean Kelly, St Michael’s Specialist Science School

‘Best Backbencher’

Rebecca Moss, Simon Langton School for Boys

All the award winners will be attending the prizewinners’ reception at the House of Lords on Wednesday 4th July where prizes will be awarded by, among others, David Cameron MP and Sir Menzies Campbell MP.

St Michael’s saw off competition from over 170 other schools and youth groups from around the UK to be awarded the top prize. Their entry was a debate on a proposed Bill to make all vehicles over 1600ccs to pay an extra £100 in road tax. Knowsley Youth Parliament debated a proposed Bill to Raise the legal age of alcohol consumption to 21, Pershore’s entry was a debate on a proposed Bill to Withdraw the United Kingdom from the Eurozone and Simon Langton’s debate was on a proposed Bill to Allow total freedom of the wearing of religious items in the workplace.

The competition was judged by a panel of MPs and Ministers, including Bridget Prentice, Sarah Teather, Theresa May and Annette Brooke who said “I was so impressed with the level of debate, the research undertaken, and the overall performance reflecting the House of Commons – what better way to learn and absorb aspects of government and Citizenship.”

Tony Breslin, Chief executive of the Citizenship Foundation congratulated the winners saying, “healthy democracies need well-informed citizens who understand the democratic process and have the skills and confidence to participate. The competition helps bring this to life by giving young people the opportunity to debate issues that are fundamental to their everyday lives.”

Sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, the National Youth Parliament Competition helps bring to life the process of Parliament, government and politics. Teams of 11–18 year olds recreate the parliamentary chamber, take on the roles of Government, Opposition and backbench MPs and make a 20 minute video of their debate on a mock bill. The Competition is now in its sixteenth successful year.

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