I was really impressed at the amount of work that they had put into their presentations and the level of knowledge they displayed about important international issues such climate change.

Also how many of them recognised that if you wanted to run a new service or an improved service then it had to be paid for by taxation or some other means.

Many of the students spoke up about putting more funding into the NHS and the value of mental wellbeing, especially in a learning environment.

The importance of healthy eating and exercise featured several times, and the provision of first aid training in schools.

Many of the presentations had me grinning in amusement and the proposal by one group to hold chariot races in the next lesson made me laugh out loud. I wasn’t sure how Mrs Elliott, the teacher, was going to manage this activity if the group was elected by the students!

Many of the students promoted equality in sports (rugby was mentioned) and generally a world where we are all equally able to achieve.

Human rights, helping homeless people and animal welfare issues featured a lot too.

Most groups’ proposals for improved services were thoughtfully backed up by how they might raise the revenue and mentioned raising taxes.

One group suggested putting solar panels on all the houses in Ottery to help with climate change issues and to lower carbon emissions.

Another group proposed a way of encouraging people to work together by offering lower tax rates to those who helped others with their homework.

One group of girls wanted a petting farm in the school to help students who were stressed.

Interspersed with the heartwarming socially conscious proposals there was often a bit of ‘encouragement’ which I found very amusing. Some students had brought in home-made cake for the whole class, insisting: “It isn’t a bribe!”

Others promised no homework or even work, but plenty of sweets, chewing gum and games in the next lesson! 

Mrs Elliott collected the votes and counted them up. If my memory serves me correctly, the sweets, cakes and games were winning policies!

A great morning and a massive well done to the students for their inventiveness and the thought and effort that went into their presentations. I look forward to hearing about the next lesson where they are in charge!