ISSUES such as same-sex relationships, capital punishment and life sentences were addressed by Steyning students at the 15th annual Sixth Form College Beliefs Conference.
Organised by Mark Warwick, Steyning Grammar School’s head of religious education, the event, on Friday, February 8, was attended by nearly 250 year-12 students.
The aim was to provide a significant contribution to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of the 16 and 17-year-olds, who had the opportunity to put questions to a panel of outside speakers representing a cross-section of world views.
“We were very pleased to see such levels of interaction between students and panel members,” said Mr Warwick.
“It was a very successful and stimulating morning for all involved.”
The conference was divided into three sessions -- questions to the panel, questions from the panel and students feedback.
The students sought views on a range of topics, but the big questions for the morning included whether victims should have an input into the severity of punishment for criminals, whether life sentences should mean life and whether gay marriage should be legalised.
Panel members were Christian minister the Rev Andrew Fadoju, David Hitchin from Lewes Quakers, Jake Purches from Worthing Mosque, Scarlett deCourcier, a researcher in psychology of religion, philosopher Jacob Berkson and Marion Gue, chair of governors.
The teenagers responded to questions from the panel in small discussion groups, chaired by a member of staff.
Each question was designed to help the students consider and evaluate different views on a variety of topics, such as democracy, moral obligations as human beings and the legal duties of a blogger.
The sessions provided a good platform for exchanges and students felt it had been extremely useful and interesting.