students from Leeds were treated to a tour of Downing Street during an unprecedented week in British politics.
Afsana Goffar, 17, who studies at Notre Dame Sixth Form College and Felicity Graham, 17, who is a pupil at St John Fisher Catholic High School, are both students with the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF), a charity that supports high-achieving young people from low-income backgrounds to realise their ambitions.
Felicity, who is in the SMF’s Politics career strand, said: “The tour was an eye-opening experience for me. I gained a deeper understanding of the British constitution and a real insight into how our country is run.”
The youngsters, who were taken on an exclusive tour of 10 Downing Street, joined 30 sixth-formers from around the UK.
David Johnston, chief executive of the SMF, said: “This trip was a reward for how hard the young people worked this year. The young people selected for this visit were those that have been very engaged with the programme so far - building good relationships with their mentors, attending events around the country and making the most out of the opportunities we are able to provide. This trip proved a great reward for them having worked so hard this academic year.”
The charity says that with 33 per cent of MPs having attended private school compared to seven per cent of the population, the students that it works with know the barriers they face in reaching the elite professions, not least within politics.
The SMF opened a north west office in 2014 to help young people throughout Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester realise their potential. The charity targets 11 different career strands where young people from less privileged backgrounds are under-represented.