BBC Radio 4's Any Questions? at Bishop Luffa School 'brings politics to life' for students

An episode of BBC Radio 4's Any Questions? aired from Bishop Luffa School in Chichester tonight to an attentive audience of more than 300 people.

Another 120 people were on the waiting list for the politics show, which had a panel this evening of Brexiteer Peter Bone, Minister of State for Immigration Caroline Nokes, Labour's Hilary Benn and Lib Dem party leader Sir Vince Cable.

Any Questions? at Bishop Luffa School, Chichester

Any Questions? at Bishop Luffa School, Chichester

While Brexit dominated the discussions, some of the most attentive people present at the broadcast and reception afterwards were the students eager to ask about local issues and the future of the government.

Vince Cable said the audience in Chichester had been 'remarkable'.

"Extremely well attended, very engaged, very quick on the uptake, a very good audience," he said.

"I get as frustrated as anyone else by the fact that Brexit dominates everything, we should be talking about education and the economy."

Any Questions? at Bishop Luffa School, Chichester

Any Questions? at Bishop Luffa School, Chichester

The 45-minute programme sped by in four questions from the audience ranging from whether May was 'nebulous', to the democratic issues behind a People's Vote.

Year 11 student Ethan Storey was on the list of waiting questioners and said he had wanted to ask about the increase in homelessness in the city and elsewhere, although a mention of lowering the voting age intrigued him.

He said: "It was a fantastic experience to be part of, a bit frustrating talking about Brexit, especially as I can't vote on it because I'm 15.

"I think that's a very important question about 16-year-olds being able to vote, especially with the Referendum and with the Scottish Referendum being able to vote at 16."

Ethan Storey at Any Questions?, Chichester

Ethan Storey at Any Questions?, Chichester

Sixth Former Sam Osmend was one of the students able to talk to the politicians afterwards at a reception. He and other students took the opportunity to ask Caroline Nokes about life as a government minister and the future of the Conservative party.

He said: "It really brought it to life, as someone who is wanting to study politics in the future, you can see it happen in front of you."

Bishop Luffa first applied to Any Questions? in 2013 but was only notified it could be a venue with weeks to go after a university pulled out. Tickets were offered to the general public, staff and students.

Radio 4 producer Lisa Jenkinson said she had been 'very impressed' with how excited students had been to find out about things and get involved and the school had hosted 'very well'.

Leila Karim at Any Questions?, Bishop Luffa School, Chichester

Leila Karim at Any Questions?, Bishop Luffa School, Chichester

Headteacher Austin Hindman said: "What we wanted to do is engage students with politics, it's one of the most difficult political environments, you can't explain it to children so all you can do is to get them engaged – so they don't make such a mess of things when it's their turn."

Sixth Formers (L-R) Dylan Collier, Jack Dawling, Sebastian Maxsted, Sam Osmend, Adam Long and Joe Barnett.

Sixth Formers (L-R) Dylan Collier, Jack Dawling, Sebastian Maxsted, Sam Osmend, Adam Long and Joe Barnett.