Education: Class politics and Mr Blunkett's dog

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The Independent Online
THE WINNERS of the Motorola Youth Parliament Essay Competition run by the Citizenship Foundation and judged by Judith Judd, the Independent's Education Editor, are announced today. They are David Parfitt, of Philips High School, Whitefield, Manchester, in the pupil section, and Janet Doodson, of Wardle High School, Birch Road, Rochdale, in the teacher section.

The essays were based on the making of videos of a pupils' version of Prime Minister's Questions and a debate in the Motorola Youth Parliament Competition. The winners will receive their prizes during a visit to the House of Commons, where they will have lunch with the Speaker.

In this extract from his prize-winning essay David Parfitt describes how he became Secretary of State for Transport during the filming of the video: 'During the following week 'volunteers' were called for. Strangely enough there seemed to be a remarkable lack of people who were willing to stand up.

'By the next PSE (Personal and Social Education) lesson, the question of who would become Secretary of State for Transport had not been resolved. The people who had volunteered were more interested in becoming David Blunkett's dog or Secretary of State for just sitting there and talking. Suddenly Mrs Wynn Davis suggested that maybe I would like to volunteer. Er, well, what should I have said? What I actually said was something along the lines of 'Nuuullggh', (in the hope that she would mistake me for a passing caveman and therefore not eligible to become an MP). However, Mrs Wynn Davis seemed to think that this was hilarious and I was dragged out to be given a lengthy speech which described how good the relief road was, how many jobs it would create and that as long as it wasn't coming through my backyard, I couldn't care less.'

In an extract from her essay Mrs Doodson wrote: 'I advised the class that their choice of Bill for debate was on a controversial subject: 'This House believes that the age of consent should be lowered to 15 years of age for both sexes.

'After preliminary discussions they unanimously agreed to change it to 16 years of age. Little did we know at the time that Parliament would be debating a similar Bill whilst we were working on our project.'