This morning I joined students at Meadowhead school for a Q&A session with their sixth form students. This is something I drop in for regularly and I’m always impressed with the astute questioning and grasp of important issues that come up. This time topics ranged from knife crime, which has obviously had tragic consequences locally, to plastics and the ways Sheffield needs to improve in how it tackles excess waste.
Fracking is a cause for concern locally, but also nationally, and we discussed the concerns raised by the 18 recent earthquakes near fracking sites in Lancashire – I’m clear that fracking isn’t the right way to meet our energy needs and shouldn’t be taking place in Britain.
Young people are right on the receiving end of the mental health crisis in this country and they were rightly concerned about access to services. We need to ensure that provision is in place for services to get involved early, and operate in environments like schools and workplaces.
Plus, with an Ofsted inspector stood at the back, I took the opportunity to lobby him about making their inspections more focused on making sure schools are inclusive.
Thanks to all those who took part in the Q&A – hopefully it’ll help encourage some of them to get more involved in politics, and thinking about how we can best tackle some of these issues.