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UAW student puts his question to BBC Radio 4 panel at Chester University - 06/02/2018

Rhys Lockwood, a student from University Academy Warrington (UAW), had the opportunity to quiz politicians, a union leader and a TV and music legend live on BBC Radio 4 last Friday, when his question was chosen to be read out to the Any Questions? panel, broadcasting from the University of Chester.

Visiting a different part of the country each week, Any Questions? provides an opportunity for members of the public, including young people over the age of 14, to challenge politicians, policy makers, writers and thinkers. High profile panellists answer questions from the public, while Jonathan Dimbleby presents and chairs the political debate and discussion.

Last Friday, the panel consisted of former cabinet minister Stephen Dorrell, who now chairs the NHS Confederation as well as the European Movement, which campaigns for greater European integration; Frances O’Grady, the General Secretary of the TUC, who has joined the new Carillion taskforce; former Labour MP Gisela Stuart, who now chairs Change Britain, the successor organisation to Vote Leave and the record producer and entrepreneur Pete Waterman, who has an honorary degree from the University of Chester, and is a member of the Cheshire and Local Enterprise Partnership.

Students with political interests were selected from University Church of England Academy (UCEA), University Academy Warrington (UAW) and University of Chester Academy Northwich (UCAN) to represent their school at the live radio show. Each Academy is sponsored by the University of Chester, which arranged for students to meet and be photographed with them. Pete Waterman spent a considerable time engaging with students from Warrington, where he also lives. 

Before the show began, the audience was encouraged to submit questions for the panel. Students from all of the schools attending submitted over 300 questions, covering a wide variety of topics. Questions from Rhys Lockwood (UAW) and Lewis Gibson (UCAN) accounted for two of the ten chosen from the whole audience, which shows the calibre of their questions! Rhys’s question was selected to be read out live on air and focussed on international trade relations and President Donald Trump. Speaking after the broadcast, Rhys said: “I’d seen a news story on Friday morning about Donald Trump and trade relations with the UK. I thought it would be a good question, as whatever happens after Brexit will have an impact on my future. I was amazed that my question was chosen to be asked!” 

Caroline McPoland, Key Stage 4 Learning Coach at UAW, said: “Once again the UAW pupils have represented the school in an exemplary manner. Rhys’s pertinent question was chosen to be asked from hundreds submitted and he did us proud by confidently asking it to the panel of interviewees, in front of the 1.7 million listeners! Our students showed their maturity and keen interest in world events by grilling the panellists even further after the event. What a fantastic experience and one that led to very healthy debates in the minibus all the way back to school.”

Iain Robinson, Principal at University Church of England Academy (UCEA) added: “Our Year 11 and Sixth Form students listened intently to the political debate during the live Radio 4 broadcast on Friday evening with a particular interest during the Brexit leave/ remain debate. It was a fantastic opportunity to see this live political programme and we were fortunate enough to have time chatting with Jonathan Dimbleby afterwards, with some students quizzing him about his political beliefs, although he was steadfast in his unbiased answers. 

“When asked by the show’s producer if they would be switching the radio on next week for the next live broadcast most of our students said they would be tuning in!” 

Liam Alman, a Year 11 student at UCEA, said: “The debate gives you food for thought. I have my own opinions and it is good that these can be challenged or confirmed in this type of arena.” 

Ana Roslan, Vice Principal at UCAN, said: “I was really proud of how the students listened to the arguments put forward by the panel and enjoyed continuing these discussions on our train ride home.” 

Lewis Gibson, a Year 9 student at UCAN, said: “I thought it was brilliant that anyone could put forward a question, although I was really nervous when I was called to the front!” 

The full recording of the show is available online at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09nycwr

Rhys Lockwood’s question can be heard approximately 16 minutes into the recording.