The Economist Educational Foundation launches virtual live debate for disadvantaged school children through its Burnet News Club programme
02.02.2018

The Economist Educational Foundation launches virtual live debate for disadvantaged school children through its Burnet News Club programme

2nd February 2018, London, UK - On 2nd February, students of The Economist Educational Foundation’s Burnet News Club, a national schools network, will participate in a UK-wide interactive debate on a key global policy issue. With the aid of a choose-your-own adventure film, students will investigate the topic of immigration in the UK by helping Robyn, a fictional first time voter, choose her Member of Parliament. Pupils will share their opinions with other students in the UK and receive live expert feedback from individuals at the ‘cut and thrust’ of academia, the charity sector and public affairs.

At the start of the debate day, pupils will gather to watch a short video where first-time voter Robyn explains her electoral dilemma. As the storyline develops, Robyn will interview local residents on the topic of immigration in her hometown. The students will control who Robyn interviews by taking part in a series of offline activities, sharing their opinions online with other students and voting on who Robyn should speak to next. The event concludes with students voting for an MP and the film will reveal who will receive Robyn’s nomination. The debate is designed to give young people a safe space to explore different perspectives with an open mind.

Emily Evans, CEO, The Economist Educational Foundation, said: “Discussions about current affairs can be a fantastic way to enable young people to understand the issues affecting their lives and develop the skills to empathise with different perspectives. The Burnet News Club gives students opportunities to have informed, open-minded discussions with their peers in different communities across the country.” In the same vein as its principal sponsor, The Economist, the charity is an advocate for positive change in society. The Burnet News Club aims to tackle inequality by giving disadvantaged young people the skills to think for themselves about current affairs and build confidence. 

To date, 71 schools have enrolled in The Burnet News Club, which provides teachers with access to training, resources and interactive news content for young people. Teachers run weekly one hour term time sessions, and between sessions the students take part in online discussions with each other across the UK. These online discussions are facilitated by staff at The Economist Educational Foundation, and students receive feedback from them and experts on the topics, to help develop their thinking and communication skills.

Membership in the Burnet News Club includes schemes of work on topical issues, complete with multimedia news content developed with Economist journalists, personalised training and support for teachers throughout the year and a dedicated secure online hub. The programme is open to all non-fee-paying, non-academically selective schools. The Economist Educational Foundation is a charity, and it relies on donations from people and organisations who wish to support its work.

More information for schools and teachers can be found here:

 

The Burnet News Club

 

-ENDS-

 

For more information on the day and/or to interview Emily Evans, CEO of The Economist Educational Foundation, on this topic, please contact:

 

Laura Binks laurabinks@economist.com/ 020 7576 8588