On Wednesday 26th June 2024, Riddlesdown Collegiate welcomed four of the candidates standing for election in South Croydon constituency to a Hustings: Tom Bowell, Labour (standing in for Ben Taylor); Richard Howard, Liberal Democrats; Kulsum Hussin, the Worker’s Party and Chris Philp, Conservatives.

The audience was made up of Year 12 students, some returning Year 13 students and staff. The audience heard from each of the candidates in turn about who they are and their key policies in an opening speech, followed by questions from the audience on a range of issues from supporting young people, recruitment and retention of teachers, investing in Croydon and making it a desirable place to live and, finally, a question on restoring trust in politics.

This last question produced a lively debate about the current situation in Gaza. I was really impressed with the student’s confidence in asking questions and holding the candidates to account with their responses. There was a real ‘buzz’ in the air and the students gained an invaluable experience as part of their political education. We are looking forward to the results of the mock election, and I am sure some of the students will be voting based on what they heard at the hustings.