St Theresa’s Catholic Primary School in Leeds has been selected as one of the schools to be involved in world’s first virtual ‘Children’s Parliament’ for 7 to 11-year-olds. The school will be represented by two Year 6 pupils, Joseph Stones and Henry Tumber.
At 5pm on Friday 29 October 2021, three days before the start of the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Joseph and Henry will join the 90-minute Microsoft Teams ‘parliamentary’ session which will be held in a House of Commons-style ‘virtual chamber’. Around half of the 650 British children matched to MPs in the British Parliament will be representing Her Majesty’s Opposition and half Her Majesty’s Government. Our two St Theresa’s pupils will represent the Parliamentary constituencies of Leeds East and Elmet and Rothwell.
Tragically, the MP Champion for this event was to have been the MP for Southend, Catholic Sir David Amess, who was killed last week. The Children’s Parliament mirrors closely Sir David’s enthusiasm for both children and parliamentary process and will continue as a tribute to him. Sir David had said ‘I started out in politics at school at the age of 11 in mock elections at St Bonaventure’s in Forest Gate, which took place in 1964 and 1966. In my opinion, the earlier young people get involved in politics the better.’
The key topics of debate will be Climate Change, but will also touch on other issues such as our Covid-19 response. David Davis MP (former shadow Home Secretary) will be answering questions live on the debate. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will give an introduction and representatives of sponsors Microsoft 365, Wakelet, and Express Newspapers have spoken of their pride in ‘giving children across the country a voice’.
St Theresa’s Head Teacher is John Hutchinson who said, ‘We are absolutely delighted that Joseph and Henry are taking part in this very prestigious project. As a school we care deeply for the environment and the boys have studied the impact of global warming, the deforestation of the Amazon basin and the need for renewable energy sources to be freely available and accessible for all. For them to represent us at such a world-first event is just brilliant for our school. We are very proud of both boys who immediately put themselves forward for this project. Fingers crossed COP26 delivers for our fractured world and that the World Leaders take notice of what these passionate young parliamentarians have to say.’