Why talking to young people about the news makes for a better society

Emily Evans, CEO, The Economist Education Foundation, on why we must engage with young people about the news


More than 40% of young people in 25 constituencies now live below the poverty line according to The Child Poverty Action Group.


This figure looks that it will only increase. As teachers, education practitioners and charity workers, we instinctivity ask:

"What will become of these young people?"


Inequality is not an issue that is going to disappear. The Social Mobility Commission’s State of the Nation report last year showed that “Britain’s deep social mobility problem, for this generation of young people in particular, is getting worse not better.” Inequality is clear in education, where young people are eligible for free school meals, they are significantly less likely to get good GCSEs or go to university.


young people

I firmly believe that if we are to overcome inequality we have to give pupils the resources to discuss the issues affecting them. Engaging children in current affairs can only help them to build their confidence and understand their environment. I’ve been told that young people aren’t interested in complex topical issues, or can’t understand them. That’s not at all my experience. Young people need a platform to express, investigate and understand differences in opinion.


As the founder and CEO of the Burnet News Club, an after schools network, we tackle inequality with the provision of classroom support to the most disadvantaged children in the UK with the Burnet News Club. Working with these students, the Burnet News Club aims to give its members a platform to discuss current affairs, the tools to understand the issues affecting their lives and the resources to develop the skills to empathise with different perspectives.


As I write this, my team are packing up resources to send to teachers for the event on February 2nd.  It will be the highlight of this term’s calendar. With the aid of a choose-your-own adventure film, students will investigate the topic of immigration in the UK by helping Robyn, a fictional first time voter, choose her Member of Parliament. Pupils will share their opinions with other students in the UK and receive live expert feedback.


To learn more about the event and the work of the Burnet News Club, please visit: https://www.burnetnewsclub.com/events/