DASP Send a Friend

Taken from an article in the Dorset Evening Echo.

Young activists got a ‘glimpse of democracy in action’ when they took a trip to the capital.

Students representing schools from the Dorchester Area Schools Partnership (DASP) travelled to London’s Houses of Parliament to support the 2018 Send My Friend to School campaign.

This campaign aims to bring together thousands of children across the UK to ‘speak up for the right to education, and remind world leaders of their promise that all children should get the chance to go to school.’

Send my Friend to School began in 2005 and DASP have been supporting it for the last four years.

Many of DASP’s activities have involved speaking with West Dorset MP, Sir Oliver Letwin and, again this year, Sir Oliver kindly welcomed the group to meet with him in London - in the Thatcher meeting room.

Introduced by Sarah Trott from the Thomas Hardye School, the pupils were able to put their own questions to him and hear his responses. It wasn’t all one way however, as Sir Oliver was then able to ask the children what they would do and was inspired to hear the young people’s views.

Fiona Brady, from St Osmund’s School, who organised the day said: “We were all very proud of the mature delivery of questions and their considered confident responses. It is a quite an achievement to debate global matters with a member of the government.”

The children then enjoyed an organised tour of the Houses of Parliament which included a chance to stand in the House of Commons.

However, sitting down on the famous green benches was not allowed as the pupils were told - only elected representatives are allowed that privilege.

Before leaving the group presented a DVD to Sir Oliver of videos made by DASP schools that supported the Send My Friend to School message. The videos included songs and poems written by the children.

After the visit there was a chance of a picnic lunch in the sunshine on Parliament Green before preparing for the coach ride back to Dorset.

A spokesman for DASP said: “It was a long, hot, but very satisfying day which gave our students a glimpse of democracy in action. This campaign allows our children to appreciate the difficulties experienced by children in other countries to get an education.”