Ashlawn’s night in the Radio 4 spotlight

Head boy Craig Manning talks to Douglas Murray. NNL-170329-123019001
Head boy Craig Manning talks to Douglas Murray. NNL-170329-123019001

It was always going to be a special night when BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions? came to Ashlawn School but last Friday’s live broadcast had extra attention after the terror
attack two days before.

While that was uppermost in the minds and in the questions, education also got a look-in and, after the live broadcast finished, a further fascinating question was taken about how Martin McGuinness should be remembered.

The Any Questions? panel at Ashlawn School. NNL-170329-121751001

The Any Questions? panel at Ashlawn School. NNL-170329-121751001

The panel of Douglas Murray, Tory MP Dominic Grieve, Labour MP Shabana Mahmood and Green MP Caroline Lucas reflected a range of opinions with some cross-party consensus but also some forthright exchanges.

In the middle was the genial Jonathan Dimbleby who was spared the embarrassment of the programme’s visit to Rugby High in 2012, when some dodgy research left him declaring Rugby was the home town of Shakespeare.

Head Lois Reed said: “I was pleased to see so many young people taking a deep interest in politics and current affairs; the youngest of the audience to pose a question to the panel was just eight years of age.

“Many of our students have since commented with interest and indeed surprise on the apparent narrowness of the topics and subjects under discussion and on what this revealed about our collective cultural interest and concern.

“The evening was very well attended and I believe that as an audience we offered the right level of challenge and encouragement to the panel who equipped themselves with assurance and composure in the face of forthright political debate and discussion.”

The programme can still be heard through the Any Questions? website.