It was a drizzly Friday as I made my way over to the brand new sixth form block at Acton High, where I met a healthy-sized crowd of politics and sociology students last week. They were assembled for my talk about sociology, politics and me as the missing link between the two.
I began by telling the students about my trajectory as an academic sociologist and politician and my experiences studying a Social and Political Science degree at Cambridge University. I explained about writing three books on the subject, teaching numerous sociology courses, being Deputy Mayoress of Ealing and now as their General Election candidate standing for the Labour party.
I was impressed by how sharp the Acton High sixth formers were, they demonstrated Paxman like questioning during the Q&A session, illustrating an interest in a breadth of subjects, including the Middle East Peace Process, climate change, the narrowness of modern political backgrounds and policies for young people, which certainly kept me on my toes.
I’ve been to Acton High three times this year: for historian Dan Snow’s official opening of the sixth form block, as a year 6 parent at the September Open Day and now in the firing line myself. Last year I was also fortunate enough to attend the school’s remembrance service.
The students on all occasions have been engaging and lively. Acton High has a proud heritage with alumnae including Pete Townsend and Roger Daltrey. The brand new sixth form block is evidence that academies, free schools and traditional community comprehensive schools can flourish side by side. I look forward to my next visit.