Heathfield School, Ascot, was abuzz with lively political debate on Friday 7th June when it hosted BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions?  presented by Jonathan Dimbleby.  The school’s St Mary’s Theatre was packed with members of the public and students eager to participate in the topical news discussions, joined by a panel comprising the SNP's Joanna Cherry MP, Historian Max Hastings, former leader of the Conservative Party Lord Howard, and the Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer MP.

With topical news questions submitted on the night by a diverse audience, Any Questions? explores a range of the most stimulating moral, political and social issues of the day. Heathfield School applied to host the show to encourage its students to engage with politics and deepen their understanding of the role each person plays in shaping society.

In preparation for the event, the school’s Head of ICT, Careers and Outreach, Rushi Millns, devised a Heathfield version of Question Time with the pupils as members of the panel. Mrs Millns planned this to coincide with Parliament Week to celebrate the centenary of (limited) women's suffrage. Mrs Millns was also involved in the 'Ask Her to Stand' initiative on 21 November 2018 to encourage more women to enter public life in order to increase their representation.

Rushi Millns commented, “Having students at the centre of the Heathfield Question Time was excellent preparation for hosting Any Questions?  It reinforced that they have a voice and that what governments decide affects all our lives, so we need to care and be involved.”

Headmistress Marina Gardiner Legge added, “Here at Heathfield one of our key values is to foster compassion, empathy, understanding and friendship by building respect for oneself and others. Participating in Any Questions? in our own school auditorium has been an inspiring experience, and one that has given our students a unique insight into political debate. Being able to listen to and understand different points of view, whilst knowing and expressing their own opinions, is a skill that will stand our girls in good stead in all aspects of their lives”.

The Any Questions? panel discussed the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Brexit and the UK’s relationship with the EU, candidates for the next Conservative Party leadership, and the interface between the expansion of Heathrow and the fight against climate change.