On International Women’s Day (Thursday 8 March 2018), students at Hucknall Sixth Form Centre welcomed a special guest, as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn visited the centre’s Portland Road site in Hucknall.

Mr Corbyn joined students at the collaborative sixth form – which is part of the Diverse Academies Learning Partnership – and engaged in workshop sessions to discuss the contribution of a number of important women throughout history, together with joining in a debate on the gender gap and whether events such as International Women’s Day ‘tokenise’ the real issues on this topic. The leader of the opposition spoke about the importance of celebrating women’s achievements and hosted a question and answer session with the students, a number of whom are taking A Levels in government and politics this summer.

Kelly Wall, head of Hucknall Sixth Form Centre, said of the visit: ‘We were delighted that the opportunity for Mr Corbyn to come and speak with our students was presented to us, especially during our celebrations of International Women’s Day. Having such a recognisable figure within national politics visit us and join in our discussions was inspirational for our students – who also welcomed the chance to pose questions to him at the end of our session. There is a great deal of focus on women’s rights and the gender gap at the moment, and for our students to have the opportunity to speak with a senior politician about these issues is both a brilliant experience and a chance to develop their ideas and thoughts in relation to this.’

Also speaking to the students about the significance of International Women’s Day was Lauren Mitchell – the councillor for Hucknall South Ward, a former student of The Holgate Academy and the recently named ‘Young Councillor of the Year’.

Debbie Clinton, acting CEO of Diverse Academies added: ‘International Women’s Day is truly inspirational, and it is great to see our students engage in such an important issue – and debate the notable achievements of some very talented, intelligent and strong women through history with Jeremy Corbyn. Within our own multi-academy trust, we are very proud to say that women occupy two thirds of our senior leadership roles – our hope is that an event such as this can drive young people to aspire to do more in their own lives and recognise the positive contribution of women to industry and society as a whole.’

The Hucknall Sixth Form Centre, which opened in September 2016, is the collaborative sixth form of National Church of England Academy, The Holgate Academy and Queen Elizabeth’s Academy, together with attracting students from the wider Hucknall and Nottingham area. Formerly the site of the old Hucknall College, the centre underwent a £1.5million refurbishment and redevelopment, bringing education back into the central Hucknall community. It now has over 200 students accessing it on a daily basis, taking advantage of the over 36 further education courses available.