Steve visited Wheelers Lane Technology College and spoke to students doing CitizenshipGCSE about campaigns they are working on and asked them what they thought about giving the vote to 16 and 17 year olds.
The students spoke to Steve about the decision by Ofqual to change the grade boundaries for English GCSE at the last minute, several students were angry about this changing of the goal posts as they were directly affected. Steve agreed with the students that there should not be a return to the old O-Level system which separates students into “can’s” and “can’ts”. The students were interested in the Government’s proposals for an EBac, but everyone agreed that if there is to be a change in exams it should have a wider focus and address the needs of the job market.
Students working on a road safety campaign asked Steve how to take their campaign further. Steve told them there are practical steps that can be taken to make the roads safer, such as the City Council’s plans to impose a 20mph speed limit on residential roads. Steve was interested to hear their idea to impose time slots for HGV vehicles on busy high streets, such as Kings Heath.
The conversation moved on to a discussion about lowering the voting age to 16. When asked about what would influence them to vote students said they would like to see candidates focusing on the campaigns they are concerned about. The students also said they would look for a candidate that was out and about in the local area and represented their constituents, regardless of political affiliation.
“I was really pleased to be contacted by students who wanted to talk to me about campaigning and local issues that were important to them. I am really interested in the debate about extending the vote to 16 & 17 year olds, especially after the decision to allow 16 & 17 year olds in Scotland a vote in the referendum on Scottish independence.”
“As I suspected the majority of students at Wheelers Lane said they supported giving the vote to 16 & 17 year olds and would use it when it came to an election. I am contacting other schools in my constituency to see what their students think about the issue, I am guessing they will have similar views to those at Wheelers Lane. It may be a different result when I come to ask people who already have the right to vote. Watch this space to see the debate heat up!”