Politics Of European Union Brought To Life For Arthur Mellows Village College

The politics of the European Union were brought to life for students from Arthur Mellows Village College this week when they took part in a Mock Council of the European Union.

News of the royal engagement on the same day in London made the day even more special for the students as the event was held in the historic Lancaster House right next door to Clarence House where the engagement was announced.

Twenty-nine secondary schools and colleges from across England gathered in Lancaster House on 16 November to debate and make decisions on the future of the Roma community and on the creation of an EU energy market for greater security of the gas supply. The event was organised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the British Council and the European Commission and was held during International Education Week.

Each school represented one of the 27 EU Member States, the European Commission or the Secretariat-General of the Council. Arthur Mellows Village College represented Denmark 

Student, Adam Dinatale said: “It was a really interesting day. I learned how decisions are made within the EU and how these affect each country differently. I now realise how difficult it can be to get certain policies passed so that every country agrees, as each country has different needs and responsibilities towards their citizens. We represented Denmark, who had fairly strong views on the treatment of the Roma and also specific needs relating to security of the Gas supply, as their own resources are depleting and they will soon require an alternative.”

euroEmily Beales, also a year 12 student said, “It was great to be treated as adults at such a prestigious event. We learnt a lot about the processes involved in how a policy is passed. It was exciting to get help from the Danish Embassy, in presenting our case. Through researching the views of another country, and debating the topics at the conference, I realised how diverse the EU is, and how we need to take into account cultural differences. I had not realised that there are around 12 million Roma in the EU and how under-represented they are. I had not realised before how persecuted and socially marginalised they are. I was glad to be given the opportunity to take part in this debate. It has increased my confidence in talking to large groups in a formal setting. I would recommend other schools to apply!”

Assistant Headteacher, Sarah Reilly said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for students to learn about the politics of the European Union. I am very proud of the way they researched, debated and presented their case at the Mock Council. It is a fantastic event that truly brings learning to life for our students.”

Minister for Europe David Lidington, who welcomed the students to the Mock Council, said: "The European Union is an institution that enables European countries to argue out their differences peacefully with respect for one another’s positions. The Mock Council is an excellent way to show young people just how the big decisions are made at a European level.”

British Council Chief Executive Martin Davidson said: “The way in which the students grasped the issues and debated them with such passion is commendable. The British Council works hard to build and ensure cultural understanding between the UK, Europe and countries around the world through initiatives such as the European Union’s Comenius programme and is pleased to be able to offer events like the Mock Council to our up-and-coming young leaders.”

Jonathan Scheele, Head of the European Commission Representation in the UK, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed chairing the debate on inclusion of Roma and was impressed by the research done by the students and their self-confidence in taking the floor and arguing their case. As a veteran of many such councils in my European Commission career, this experience was very close to the real thing, and I hope the students got a lot out of their day.” 

For more information please contact Sharon Williams in the British Council Press Office on 020 7389 4808 or Sharon.williams@britishcouncil.org



Participant School


Representing Country

Arthur Mellows Village College



Brighton Hove & Sussex VIth Form College



Brockworth Enterprise School



Caterham High School



Convent of Jesus and Mary Language College


European Commission

Cordeaux School



English Martyrs School



Finchley Catholic High School



Frances Bardsley School for Girls



Highgate Wood



Impington Village College



Kelsey Park Sports College



Lambeth Academy


Secretariat General

Lancaster Girls' Grammar School



Newstead Wood School for Girls



Parkstone Grammar School



Plymstock School



Redruth School



Royal Forest of Dean College


Czech Republic

Sandown High School

Isle of Wight


Shooters Hill Post 16 Campus



St Aelred's Catholic Technology College

St Helens


Stroud High School



The Portsmouth Grammar School



The Sixth Form College, Colchester



Thomas Deacon Academy



Upton-by-Chester High School



Willowfield School


Republic of Ireland

Wirral Grammar School for Boys


The Netherlands


For more information about the Mock Council please go to  http://www.britishcouncil.org/comenius-mock-council-2010.htm

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We work in over 100 countries worldwide to build opportunity and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people. We work in the Arts, English, Education and Society, including science and sport - and in the process contribute to the security and prosperity of the UK and the countries where we work.   Last year we engaged face to face with 18.4 million people and reached 652 million. We are a non-political organisation which operates at arm’s length from government. Our total turnover in 2009/10 was £705 million, of which our grant-in-aid from the British government was £211 million. For every £1 of government grant we receive, we earn £2.50 from other sources. For more information, please visit: www.britishcouncil.org

The Council of Ministers is one of the two primary decision-making bodies of the European Union (the other is the European Parliament). It is composed of ministers of the 27 Member States; which minister attends depends on the subject matter under discussion.

The European Commission is the executive institution of the European Union. Its Representation in the UK has several roles:

  • Providing information about the European Union across the UK
  • Speaking for the Commission as its voice in the UK.
  • Reporting back to the Commission on political, economic and social developments in the UK.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is the government department responsible for promoting British interests overseas and supporting our citizens and businesses around the globe.