Dahrendorf Post-Doctoral Fellow Benjamin Martill visited Haverstock School in Camden on the 7th of June as part of a local initiative to provide young people the opportunity to discover the nature of university-level education and to help them think critically about contemporary social and political issues. The session dealt with the thorny question of Brexit. Students and researchers talked about developments in the Brexit process and what the decision to leave the EU meant to them. There were mixed opinions as to whether Brexit was a good or a bad idea, and—unsurprisingly—on whether Theresa May was doing a good job in securing the best deal for Britain. All participants agreed that it was important that everybody’s views were taken into account and that any deal would reflect the needs of all those in British society. The discussion was followed by a mock negotiation in which the “Britain” and “Europe” teams tussled (verbally) over the terms of the withdrawal agreement.
The visit to the school was organised as part of the Haverstock University programme led by the UCL School of Public Policy. Haverstock University is a collaboration between UCL and Haverstock School, a comprehensive school in Camden. The initiative, set up by Yasi Quereshi, a Master’s student at UCL, aims to bring academic debate and university style learning to secondary schools in UCL’s area. Each week, Haverstock students from all year groups discuss and debate a different topic, from Brexit to climate change. The debates are facilitated by Yasi and Oli Patel, a UCL researcher, along with other guest speakers from academia.