Our websites

West Nottinghamshire College Group operates a number of websites that support our growing business.

The Corporation

Posted: 02/02/23

Great debates give students powerful voice

A-Level students at West Nottinghamshire College have enjoyed some great debates over the past few weeks, enabling them to quiz guests from the health, education, and political sectors.

  • LGBT activist Jeremy Pemberton, welfare coach Wayne Golding and Sherwood Forest Hospitals executive director of strategy and partnerships David Ainsworth
  • David Ainsworth
  • Ashfield MP Lee Anderson, politics tutor Megan McQueen and Sherwood Forest Hospitals' director of nursing Chantelle Miles
  • Shantell Miles
  • Students posed some tough questions for the panel

The first panel to be given the Question Time treatment consisted of executive director of strategy and partnerships at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, David Ainsworth, Church of England priest and LGBT activist, Jeremy Pemberton and one of the college’s welfare coaches, Wayne Golding.

Before the Christmas holidays, David, Jeremy and Wayne joined students to discuss the subject of identity, focusing on sexuality and gender.

Students brought a range of questions to the panel, such as asking them what gives people confidence in the workplace to speak about sexual orientation and gender identity. The guests drew experiences from their personal lives and their professional roles to highlight their responses.

Other questions posed by the student audience were focused on what services each panel member’s organisations do to support trans youth who have experienced discrimination, and what their views are on the criminal justice system’s attitude to gender identity related to trans rights.

Jeremy gave his personal account of how he became the first priest to enter a same-sex marriage. Before this, he had undertaken the role as an Anglican priest. Because same-sex marriage is not accepted by the Church, he was denied the job as chaplain for the NHS, by the Archbishop of York. This action led to Jeremy suing the Church for discrimination, but the tribunal upheld the Church’s views on marriage.

A further debate took place in January, with panel guests Lee Anderson, MP for Ashfield, Shantell Miles, director of nursing at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the college’s A-Level politics teacher Megan McQueen. The subject of the debate was the ‘state of our democracy’.

Students quizzed MP Lee about parliamentary issues such as why doesn’t the British public choose which party leads in situations such as 2022 when the country saw three prime ministers with Rishi Sunak being the present PM. Students and the panel also discussed the desire amongst some young people to have the ability to vote at the age of 16.

Students also posed the question to the panel whether they consider the UK’s democracy to reflect free choice and whether it truly is ‘democratic’, specifically regarding the impacts of Brexit.

Irum Pervez, teaching head of department for A-Levels, said: “Both debates provoked some very interesting questions from our student body, on very topical matters. Our students researched their questions very well and showed great confidence not only with asking the panels a range of initial questions, but also questioning panel members again when a response was given.

“We really value the time given by healthcare seniors, MPs, industry leaders and well-known members of our communities to bring a variety of debating experiences to our academic students.”