Competition finds young political stars

Charlotte Jones is on the path to fufilling her ambition of being a political journalist after winning a national citizenship contest, writes Biddy Passmore.

Charlotte, 16, of Calthorpe Park school in Hampshire, was named best press officer last week in the Citizenship Foundation's Youth Parliament Competition.

Aimed at helping pupils understand democracy, the contest asked them to produce a 20-minute video of a mock parliamentary session, including Question Time and a debate on a Bill of their choice.

Charlotte won a day's work experience at The TES after gaining widespread local publicity for her school's debate, which included discussions on secondary education and compulsory identity cards. She and 29 fellow winners were invited to tea at Downing Street and met politicians including Education Secretary Estelle Morris and Speaker Michael Martin.

St Michael's RC in Billingham was overall best school for the fourth time in the contest's 11-year history. Its pupils Jon Paul Rowden and Rebecca Halas were named best Prime Minister and best spokesperson for the opposition respectively. Best Speaker was Kyle Young, of St Richard Gwyn school, Flint, and best backbencher was Sandeep Gupta, of Heathland school, south-west London.

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