“What more can be done about poverty?” 

“What areas of the public sector need improving the most?” 

“How much money do you make?” 

Just some of the questions put to Mayor Jamie Driscoll last week as he met with 100 year 11 and sixth form pupils at Marden High School in North Shields. 

The event was part of a series of region-wide Mayor’s Question Time events, where residents can ask the Mayor questions and give their feedback on local issues. 

Students from six secondary schools attended the special assembly with a further 11 schools joining the event via a live video link, enabling many more young people to watch online. 

Hosted by Alfie Joey, former BBC Newcastle presenter, turned public speaker and artist, pupils were encouraged to ask just about anything of the Mayor. 

Thought-provoking, serious and some just for fun. Important questions such as “What are your plans to get more children from the North East into Higher Education?”, “Do you think the age of voting should be lowered to 16?” and even “What’s your favourite chocolate bar?”  were asked. 

Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: 

“I was directly elected by the people of Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland, which is why it’s important that people get a chance to ask me questions.  

“It’s especially important young people have their say, as decisions made now will affect them for years to come. They can and should help influence those policies.  

“I’m a dad of two teenagers so I like to think I understand some of the concerns young people in our region have. It was inspiring for me to hear from them firsthand and be able to answer their questions. And it was a lot of fun, too!” 

Alfie Joey, Mayor Jamie Driscoll, Gracie Longstaff and Blyth Amers sitting on the stage for Mayor's Question Time

Left to Right: Alfie Joey, Mayor Jamie Driscoll, Gracie Longstaff and Blyth Amers

Kehri Ellis, Chief Executive of North Tyneside Learning Trust who helped organise the event said: 

“Staging a Mayor’s Question Time with an audience of young people from across multiple secondary schools has been a very valuable opportunity to expose the next generation of voters to an important aspect of democracy – the right and freedom to question our political leaders. The quality of the questions raised by students has been incredibly impressive and I’m delighted that by working with the North of Tyne Combined Authority, North Tyneside Learning Trust were able to play a part in making this happen.” 

Matt Snape, Headteacher at Marden School said: 

“At Marden High School we talk a lot about hope, agency and leadership being essential elements in the development of our young people, so we have been very pleased to host the North of Tyne Mayor’s Question Time this year. This event has given our students, and those around North Tyneside, another great opportunity to engage with those in positions of authority and hopefully to genuinely influence their decision making. As this year of key electoral decisions, regionally, nationally and globally, unfolds, it is vital that the next generation of decision makers sees the importance of democratic debate and that they feel confident in their sense of agency, and in being part of shaping a more equal society for the future.” 

Watch Mayor’s Question Time from Marden High School on the NTCA YouTube channel.