Newstead Wood School, a grammar school located in Orpington, is home to many speakers coming in to deliver a talk after school times.


Recently, Newstead Wood has invited many people with a range of backgrounds, jobs, age etc. to deliver interesting talks on real-life situations. On Thursday, the 1st of November, they invited an MP, Sir Graham Brady, to talk to the students about how it is to work in politics and encouraged them to ask inquisitive questions and challenge views. Sir Graham Brady is quite a prestigious politician, being the chairman of the 1922 committee, which is “a committee of all backbench Conservative MPs that meet weekly when the Commons are sitting”, as the UK Parliament website defines it as. I (A) interviewed a student (T) who attended this talk. Here’s what she had to say:

A: First of all, do you enjoy the talks the school hosts?


T: In general, I do really enjoy the lectures at school. Obviously, I don't go to every single one, and not everyone will be interested in every talk, but they're given in such a way that if you truly relish studying the subject being spoken about, or even just key ideas about it, they are engaging and enlightening for anyone who does attend.


A: Do you learn anything new?


T: I definitely pick up a few extra bits of knowledge. One of our more recent sessions was when the German Consul for South-west London came to talk to us about the importance of foreign languages, and I learned that the work of a consult is essentially pro-bono, including helping citizens of other countries renew their passports, connect them with compatriots across the country and even help provide help in learning English or their native language. Despite the lofty imagery of the word 'consul', it’s quite a down-to-earth, altruistic role, which was reflected in the German consul.


A: What are your favourite parts of these talks?


T: I love hearing about the stories and trials of the speakers because most of them have overcome either great personal or professional adversity, and still emerged on the other side as great people. In particular, the intimate Q+A sessions for those who have additional questions create a less formal, more comfortable space to form interpersonal connections with these amazing people, and result in a deep understanding of not only their talks, but their unique personalities.


A: And lastly, do you recommend?


T: A resounding YES! I think it's paramount to experience a wide range of topics, seeing as acquiring varied knowledge makes us more balanced and whole people, and it can also be helpful thinking in terms of future careers, or even just sparking an interest in something you never thought you would enjoy. The speakers are so warm, and the environment is one of a like-minded, focused group of people who have an interest in these topics, and you definitely wouldn't lose anything going to one of these talks. In fact, I think there's so much more to gain!


However, the school has much more to offer. There was a talk by an alumnus of the school, who is currently in her second year of Law at Exeter University, and many students attended this, as well as teachers and parents. Yet another good thing about these talks is that they are open to everyone who wishes to come, appealing to a large audience.


There have been previous talks on several topics, such as politics and law, economy and finance and environmental activists have also come in.


It’s truly a valuable opportunity and is a chance to expand your knowledge and understanding. No wonder Newstead is held in such high esteem!