Havering College’s award-winning debate show chaired by BBC journalist rounds off ‘television week’

Havering asks at the college

Havering asks at the college - Credit: Archant

A live studio audience of sharp young minds rounded off to a close Havering College’s “television week” by firing a range of tough questions at political figures.

Havering asks at the college

Havering asks at the college - Credit: Archant

Havering Asks, modelled on BBC’s Question Time and chaired by BBC World Service broadcaster Fred Dove, featured four panellists - Andrew Rosindell MP (Cons), Ivana Bartoletti (Lab), Craig Bennett (Friends of the Earth) and Rania Hafez (Muslim Institute),

They answered questions ranging from the recent events in Paris and Syria to the price of plastic bags.

“Are apprenticeships better than university?” asked Mitchell Broad from Hall Mead School, in Marlborough Gardens, Upminister.

This sparked a fierce debate between the panellists who’s answers were as diverse as the causes they represent.

Audience at Havering asks

Audience at Havering asks - Credit: Archant


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“It depends on the person,” said Craig Bennett chief executive officer of charity, Friends of the Earth.

“I think we have failed young people when it comes to apprenticeships,” said Rania Hafez, a senior lecturer in education and community studies at the University of Greenwich.

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“Apprenticeships and university education should be the same.”

Encouraging youngsters to take responsibility for their futures, MP for Romford, Andrew Rosindell (Cons) added: “It is up to us to think and to provide for ourselves.”

Audience member, Lucy Mason president of Havering College's student union fires a question at the Ha

Audience member, Lucy Mason president of Havering College's student union fires a question at the Havering Asks panel. Picture Steve Poston - Credit: Archant

Ivana Bartoletti, Labour’s Havering and Redbridge candidate for the 2016 London Assembly elections called the cost of university education “a joke” adding “there are not enough apprenticeships”.

A crew of 32 students worked to broadcast the event as well as documentaries, dramas, debates and music videos on the colleges 24 hour website, which screened shows for four days.

College student, 18-year-old Jennifer Williamson, a member of the backstage production crew, reflected on her progress at the college.

“Last year I was in the studio audience, this year it’s our time to shine.

Havering college student and director of Havering Asks, Julius Grunt with sound engineers behind the

Havering college student and director of Havering Asks, Julius Grunt with sound engineers behind the scenes at Havering Asks. Picture Steve Poston - Credit: Archant

“Havering Asks puts across to people this is a big thing.

“You don’t get to do this in other colleges, I’m happy to be back stage watching everything unfold.”

The studio audience was made up of pupils from Hornchurch’s Abbs Cross School & Arts College, in Abbs Cross Lane and Albany School,in Broadstone Road, as well as Hall Mead School, Marlborough Gardens, Upminster, Royal Liberty School, Brentwood Road, Romford and Redbridge’s Oaks Park High School.

The director, student Julius Grunt, breathed a sigh of relief when the credits began to roll.

“We had a few minor problems with communications but over all it went well,” he said.

“This will look great on my cv.”

Andy Popperwell, executive editor of the show and media lecturer at the college, called Havering Asks the closest thing students could get to a fully professional production.

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