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Pupils lead political awareness initiative

15 March 2021

Pupils from King Edward's School have led an initiative to raise political awareness amongst their peers.

A group of eight boys in Divisions organised a Political Awareness Week, which took place from Monday 22 to Friday 26 February 2021.

Local schools, including King Edward VI High School for Girls, Handsworth Wood Girls' Academy and King Edward VI Handsworth, took part in the week of activities, events and presentations.

Speakers included West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street (1981), Labour MP for Edgbaston and Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, Preet Kaur Gill, and former Director of Counter-Terrorism at the Home Office, Robert Whalley (1965). Talks were on topics including race, identity, gender and sexuality in politics and a virtual ‘Question Time' like debate included MPs Saqib Bhatti (2003) and Preet Gill, Andy Street and Councillor Matt Bennett.

Advait Kuravi in Divisions, who came up with the idea for the week after conducting an independent study of people's knowledge of politics, said: "I was surprised by how little people know about politics and how young people are less engaged with politics than ever before. Only 58% of 18-24-year-olds voted in the 2017 general election compared to 78% aged over 24.

"The inspiration for the week of activities and events was to try and educate and encourage young people to become more involved in politics. We had some amazing speakers and I really hope that Political Awareness Week helped engage young people in the issues of our time."

Dr Martin Otero-Knott, Director of Academic Enrichment, said: "It was a fascinating week and I was incredibly impressed by the way the boys organised the activities. They came up with the ideas for the themes, invited the speakers to take part, managed the logistics, and created a website and publicity materials.

"The team have done a fantastic job and I hope we can develop this initiative further in the future." 

The team of pupils who organised the event were: Advait Kuravi, Jacob Hiles, Will Thomas, James Corcoran, Rahul Ghosh, Jamie Gatcha, Prathamesh Paruvatharaj and Varun Mohan.