Claire Wright, who is standing for the Parliamentary constituency of East Devon as an Independent candidate, visited a Year 13 Sociology class last Thursday to answer their questions and discuss the students’ attitudes to voting.

Students had prepared questions that linked to their current exploration of whether social groups (eg, social classes, ethnicities, ages and sexes) are fairly represented within the political system. Claire responded to these questions clearly, drawing upon her own experiences to help illustrate her points.

The discussion covered all manner of issues, including Labour’s recent use of a pink van to encourage more women to vote, UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s reported wish to scrap the Race Discrimination Act, and whether East Devon businesses should adopt a ‘Living Wage’ policy. In addition students asked questions stemming from their own personal interests; these ranged from Claire’s view on the European Union to why East Devon has always been a Conservative constituency.

As well as asking Claire questions, students also responded to her queries; in particular Claire wanted to hear whether students were engaged in voting and if they would vote in the next elections. Out of the seven students, four said they definitely would, but three said they felt they do not know enough about the different people standing to make an educated vote. The discussion moved on to consider how young people could increase their awareness and confidence in politics and voting.

It was a great opportunity for students to consolidate their learning to date, alongside broadening their awareness of current issues and politics. Ella Palmer said, “It was interesting to learn more about social inequalities in politics from someone who has first-hand experience”, while Amy Black said, “I gained knowledge about how gender can impact on women in politics and it was interesting to hear Claire’s opinion on topics like ethnicity and class in relation to politics.”

Mrs Jenkins and her students would like to thank Claire for giving up her time to visit and we wish her the best of luck in the forthcoming election.