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A group of Havering students will get to grill a panel of special guests – including high profile political activists - next week.

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The event is a student question time session being run by Havering Council in partnership with Havering College of Further and Higher Education, as part of their local democracy work with young people.

Around 150 pupils from the borough’s secondary schools and colleges will attend and debate local, national and international issues with a panel drawn from the worlds of politics and TV.

This year’s panellists include: human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell; chairman of pro-EU campaign group the European Movement Petros Fassoulas; chief executive of Havering Association of Voluntary & Community Organisations (Havco), Kim Guest; and 2010 Conservative candidate for Barking, Simon Marcus.

Chairing the event will be veteran BBC Panorama journalist Richard Lindley.

The event is cross-curricular, meaning students from many different subject areas are involved in producing and planning the sessions.

College students will be building the set, filming the event and doing design work.

Havering Asks 2012 will take place on Thursday next week, at the college’s campus in Ardleigh Green Road, Hornchurch.

Council leader, Cllr Michael White, said: “Havering Asks 2012 is an excellent way for our local young people to meet leading people from the fields of politics, TV and human rights, and ask them questions about issues which are relevant to their everyday lives.”

Havering College principal, Maria Thompson, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the council to stage a second Havering Asks debate.

“The event will give our students and other young people in the borough the opportunity to question politicians and celebrities on the issues which matter to them.

She added: “It will be a fantastic insight into the television industry for our media students, who will be filming the debate as if it were a live broadcast.

“Last year’s film resulted in a BBC prize and the students are aiming to build on this success with another professional level production.”

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