The aim of Dulwich Political week in November 2017 was to encourage pupils to be thoughtful, informed and active citizens.
In addition to the assemblies and whole year group events that all students attended during the week, pupils were encouraged to have their say, through debating competitions, giving speeches at a ‘Speakers Corner’, contributions to the suggestion boards for what Brexit and the Budget should look like, and a school-wide daily vote on issues from prisoner incarceration to nuclear weapons. Several workshops, talks and debates were joined by pupils from The Charter School in Dulwich and James Allen’s Girls’ School (JAGS).
Special guests and visiting speakers included actor Pip Utton with his thought-provoking performances of Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler; Lionel Barber OA, editor of The Financial Times; James Carson from The Telegraph, Angus Hanton (Intergenerational Foundation); artists Tinsel Edwards, Twinkle Troughton and Anita Kontrec who produced artwork with the boys which encouraged them to express their political views; as well as the Advocacy Academy and Amnesty International.
Justin Webb from the BBC chaired the Question Time panel with Richard Angell (Progress), Lord Robin Butler (Tory peer), Gail Kent (Lib Dem), Siobhan Bailie (Conservative). The charity MyStart, exhibited art works, films, zines and journal extracts created by young refugees from Kakuma camp in Kenya.
The Master rounded off the week with the concluding talk of the three-part lecture series on Political Philosophy. Student and staff not only learned about the ideas of John Stuart Mill, but were challenged to be brave enough to debate ideas openly, and resist the ‘safe space’ culture while acknowledging that the ‘harm principle’ needs to be recognised.