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Political education classes 'should be compulsory'

Youngsters should receive compulsory lessons in political education before they leave school, a teachers' union leader declared yesterday.

This would give them a grounding in democracy and encourage more to vote in later life, John Rimmer, president of the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers, told his union's annual conference in Glasgow.

Under his plan, youngsters would study the subject between 14 and 16. It would give them a better preparation for understanding politics, he said.

Mr Rimmer, a secondary school teacher from Warrington, Lancashire, said it was important pupils learn about the political system at school rather than rely on the words of politicians after they had left.

"An impartial education in politics would increase participation in elections with electors voting armed with a knowledge and understanding of party politics rather than a reliance on spin and media prejudices," he said.