FOR the second year Mark and I attended the Citizenship Conference on Friday 26 October – run jointly by South Wilts and Bishop Wordsworth’s Grammar Schools – with Salisbury Democracy Café.

We were based at the South Wilts site for all three sessions and the subjects chosen were surprising and interesting. First up was ‘should we speak a single language?’ which generated a lively discussion.

The second topic chosen by the students was ‘can positive discrimination be justified?’ and the third was ‘should we have the death penalty in the UK?’ These were all weighty subjects which made for wide-ranging deliberations.

Afterwards Alastair Endersby, Head of Sixth at Bishop Wordsworth’s, said: “I gather the Democracy Café sessions went particularly well, both from talking to students who attended, and also via Ben from our committee who worked with you.”

Ben said: “With regards to thanking the Democracy Café, I thought that they encouraged thought-provoking and insightful discussion that everyone, especially myself, enjoyed immensely. I’m very grateful to them for giving up their time to give us a unique experience that their own respect for all viewpoints and accepting attitude enhanced no end. I hope to see them at their regular Democracy Cafés as soon as my other commitments allow.”

I think I speak for myself and Mark when I say that we both came away feeling energised by these sessions and we are both looking forward to engaging again next year.