East Devon Councillors Douglas Hull and Susie Bond ‘elected’ by Year 11 pupils

A group of councillors from East Devon District, Devon County and Ottery St Mary Town Councils were recently put in the hot seat at The King’s School in Ottery St Mary, when they were subjected to tough questions from Year 11 pupils during two rounds of political speed dating. 

East Devon District Councillors Douglas Hull and Susie Bond were voted the clear winners at the lively and informative events and both praised the topical and interesting questions they were asked by the young people.

Political speed dating is a fast-paced and exciting way for young people to engage with their local councillors. Councillors travelled from across the district to answer the 'quick fire' questions put to them by students who then voted for the councillor they would elect, based on how well they performed.

Councillors who attended included: 

  • East Devon District Council: Councillors Susie Bond, Douglas Hull, Steve Gazzard, Cathy Gardner, Eleanor Rylance, Peter Burrows, Peter Faithfull, Simon Grundy, Paul Diviani, Phil Skinner, Rob Longhurst and Paul Carter. 
  • Devon County Council: Councillor Claire Wright 
  • Ottery St Mary Town Council: Councillor Anne Edwards 

Cllr Hull, who represents the Axminster ward, said that he felt honoured to be in the company of the young group. He said:

Their questions were wise and perceptive and I was encouraged by their interest in politics and their understanding of how it impacts on everyone’s lives. They were very aware of how they could make a difference through the ballot box and I was tremendously impressed by them. I was delighted to win their vote.

Cllr Bond, who represents Feniton and Buckerell, added:

It’s a massive privilege to chat to and listen to the concerns of students at The King’s School. They are always engaged and well informed, and ask very incisive questions on a wide range of political topics. Top of the list is always their wish to lower the voting age to 16 and it can only be a matter of time before the Government bows to pressure on this!

Mrs Jo Elliott, Head of PSHE/Citizenship at The King's School, said:

The political speed dating event is so successful at The King's School as it manages to engage the students in politics and reminds them how important it is to participate in elections.

The students ask incredibly pertinent questions and the Councillors' responses ensure the event has an everlasting impact on young people. An excellent way to debate current issues and we are extremely grateful to the organisers and the politicians for giving up their time freely.