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Students see EU democracy in action

Published on 08/12/16

Sixth form politics and law students at The Hewett Academy have enjoyed an inside view of European democracy during a visit to Brussels.

The highlight of the trip, which took place on December 6 and 7, was a visit to the European Parliament to meet MEP for the East of England, Vicky Ford.

Mrs Ford posted on her Facebook page: “Great to meet students and teachers from The Hewett Academy, Norwich yesterday.

"Extremely good questions on the role of MEPs, life in Brussels after the EU referendum, and gender balance in the European Parliament.

"Come back soon!”

Year 13 student Nick Clarke reports on the trip:

“The European Parliament and Brussels trip saw us visit the chamber in which Nigel Farage makes his boisterous statements, an authentic Belgian Christmas market, along with meeting one of our local Members of European Parliament (MEP).

“We left Norwich in foggy conditions at 5am - so we were definitely early for school that day! We arrived midday on Tuesday and with a quick stop to a surprisingly nice youth hostel to drop off our bags we took the Metro to the Parliament.

“We first had a very informative presentation by a former lobbyist, now civil servant called Henry. This covered everything from the history of the EU to possible Brexit implications.  He said he would start off pessimistic and get happier as the talk went along!

“Vicky Ford, one of our local MEPs, was able to meet us for a short time for a question and answer session along with her aides. Mrs Ford had just come from a meeting with the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond MP, so we are more than grateful for her devoting some of her time to us.

“She gave great answers to our questions and described how it feels to interact in the chamber with politicians from 27 other countries and with 24 languages involved.

“The chamber was smaller than we thought it would be, with seating for all 751 Members of the European Parliament.

“After, we explored the Christmas market which offered a wide range of decorations, attractions and local delicacies. Students also witnessed an extravagant light show in the Grand Place which was breathtaking.

“On returning to the hotel, there was an impromptu pool competition between Hewett Academy and some French students which, to Mr Little’s surprise and delight, we won!

“The final day our excursion was to the European Parliament museum which had an interactive tour guide that took us through in chronological order from 1900 to the plans for 2050.

“We saw how laws are made in the EU and explored some of the problems arising from the structure of the EU.

“The trip in whole was truly a unique experience, which English students will not be able to enjoy in the near future after Brexit. However, for us, it was a great trip and we were very glad to have the opportunity.”