Michael Fabricant is encouraging Staffordshire’s High School students to enter a national Parliamentary Writing Competition. Entries have to be sent in by Friday 26th November. Last year, as part of the celebrations for its 200th anniversary, the Parliamentary Press Gallery inaugurated a writing competition for students, designed to complement citizenship lessons in schools and aimed at pupils in years 10 to 13. The aim was to promote awareness and discussion of the values of parliamentary democracy and the political process and in addition, an understanding of the role of parliamentary journalism.
In 2003, winners spent a day in Parliament meeting the Speaker, many Members of Parliament including those who supported the competition by acting as judges, the Prime Minister and Education Secretary, plus political journalists from the variety of national and regional newspapers, television and radio broadcasters, news agencies, news magazines, internet publishers and the specialist press represented in the Press Gallery.
Michael Fabricant says "This year Mr Speaker has already agreed to meet the winners again and I hope that Lichfield, Burntwood and other schools in the Lichfield Parliamentary constituency will participate. Judging will be completed by mid-December with the winners invited to spend a day at Westminster, with all expenses paid, in February 2005. So time is tight! Entries can be emailed in, but they must be sent in by Friday 26th November."
Further information, including details of how to enter and the competition rules, can be found on the Press Gallery web site, ‘http://www.parliamentarypressgallery.org.uk
"Meanwhile, Lichfield and Burntwood schools will be participating in the Parliamentary Speaking Competition in the Guildhall in Lichfield on the evening of Friday 25th February 2005" adds Michael.
The following outlines what is required.
Years 10 and 11:
In a manifesto a political party declares what it would do if voted into power. Write a letter to the leader of any of the major political parties suggesting a new idea for their next manifesto. Explain carefully why you think your proposal would be popular with voters at the next general election. Your letter should be no longer than 800 words.
Years 12 and 13:
Write an article suitable for publication in a national newspaper suggesting how first time voters can be persuaded to participate in the next general election. You could focus on political policies or voting procedures or both. Your article, with an appropriate headline, should be no longer than 1500 words.