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Cheney School

Cheney School

year 9 Policy Slam!

year 9 Policy Slam!

46 Year 9s had the very special opportunity to visit the University of Oxford's Blavatnik School of Government this week to take part in a Policy Slam run by their graduate students, who come from 53 different countries across the globe. The students were welcomed in the lecture theatre, before being split into groups to explore three policy issues. One of these was free speech, which was examined through the case of the Google employee who had published a ten page manifesto to all Google employees, stating his beliefs that women were biologically less capable of technology roles. Another looked at the issue of diversity through the case of a school which wanted to cater for as many of its community as possible through its school lunches menu, but was struggling to make ends meet. The final one looked at the environment, and ways in which the City Council might have the city less congested and polluted.
 
The students were given one of these three issues, split into small groups, and encouraged by graduate student leaders to explore each case from lots of different angles. To facilitate this, some actors were sent in to rooms whom our students were able to question. Each actor took a particular angle or had a particular role in the case study. 
 
After a lovely lunch on the terrace with beautiful views of Oxford's skyline, the groups then had to present their conclusions about the cases to everyone else who had been debating their issue. This produced much lively discussion and some very insightful questions. 
 
The whole experience was engaging and thought-provoking, and gave the students the opportunity to analyse complicated situations which policy makers have to think about all the time, and have a go at solving them.
 
We are very grateful to the graduate student team at Blavatnik who made this possible, and to the Blavatnik for letting us use their magnificent building for this very stimulating event!
 
Dr L Robinson (Classics and Museum) & Mr D Gimson (Higher Attainers)