Is Mrs May home? Political pathway opened for Leeds student


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HEADING DOWN TO DOWNING STREET: Afsana Goffar travelled to 10 Downing Street and toured the inside of the historic building as part of the Social Mobility Foundation

HEADING DOWN TO DOWNING STREET: Afsana Goffar travelled to 10 Downing Street and toured the inside of the historic building as part of the Social Mobility Foundation

In what has been an unprecedented week in British politics, a local Leeds student found herself at the heart of the action after being handpicked to visit 10 Downing Street.

Seventeen-year-old Afsana Goffar was taken on an exclusive Tour of the Prime Minister’s office on Friday 8th July, where she had unprecedented access to where Britain’s biggest political decisions are being hashed out.

The Notre Dame Sixth Form College student was selected due to her involvement with the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF), a charity that supports high-achieving young people from low-income backgrounds to realise their ambitions.  

She joined 30 other sixth-formers from around the UK who travelled to the capital for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Speaking about the experience, Afsana said: “The trip was eye opening, especially for someone like me, who did not know a great deal about politics.

“We discussed the history of the building itself, the important decisions that occur there and current affairs.”

She added: “We went there following the referendum result and because of this, there were many points to debate and discuss. This was the most interesting part, as we as young people believe Brexit is likely to have a big impact on us.”

With 33 per cent of MPs having attended private school - compared to seven per cent of the population – the SMF aim to show students the barriers they are likely to face in reaching elite professions.

Afsana, who is currently on a residential at the University of York, admits she is still unsure as to what career path she will take.

“Other than following recent news and relevant current affairs, I was not very political. However, after attending a visit to 10 Downing Street, my interest is growing,” she said.

“Right now, I'm considering studying engineering or chemistry at university, but career wise I haven't made a firm decision.”

David Johnston, Chief Executive of the SMF, said the trip was a reward for young people who had excelled within the foundation 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,” he said.

“This trip proved a great reward for them having worked so hard this academic year.”

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.

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