Just two weeks prior to the general election, Brooksbank hosted its own hustings, an event which attracted live coverage from BBC Look North TV news programme. The hustings, organised by Sue McMahon from Calderdale Against School Cuts (CASC), brought together parliamentary candidates for the key marginal Calder Valley seat and voters for a Q&A meeting about education.
Look North’s Amy Garcia tweeted, “Tonight it’s back to school in the Calder Valley to find out what some of the parties are promising on the subject of education. Join me 6.30pm!” She then interviewed three sixth formers, Mansoor Rasul, Rose Porritt and Lauren Wilson-Radcliffe about improvements they would like to see in education.
The hustings followed, with 150 people packing the hall at Brooksbank. In the political hot seats were Javid Bashir, for the Liberal Democrats, Josh Fenton-Glynn, for the Labour Party and Richard Phillips, for the Liberal Party. The Conservative candidate, Craig Whittaker declined to attend. The event was chaired by Liz Cresswell, Director of the Valley Learning Partnership, who stood in for Headteacher, Kevin McCallion who was too ill to attend.
All three candidates were quizzed about school spending, further education, national curriculum reform, keeping teachers in work, small schools, the arts, and other topics. Discussion was good humoured and refreshingly side-stepped Brexit. Hustings organiser, Sue McMahon said, “It’s not all about an oven ready Brexit. We have a duty to keep Education at the heart of this election.” As well as questioning, members of the audience also offered their opinions in what was an engaging Q and A.
“Well done everyone on the incredible effort to put on such a professional and well organised event and link that into a really good TV slot too,” said Mungo Sheppard, Head Teacher at Ash Green County Primary School.