Baroness Maddock with sixth form pupil at Barnard Castle School John Clouston, 16, of Washington DC, USAPOLITICALLY-minded pupils have been given a privileged insight into the parliamentary process by a peer of the realm.

Liberal Democrat Baroness Maddock met with more than 150 upper and lower sixth formers at Barnard Castle School to discuss her role within the House of Lords and encourage students to become more engaged in political discussion.

The visit was arranged through the Lord Speaker’s Peers in Schools programme, which has been running across the UK since 2007 and has so far involved around 75,000 young people.

The political outreach programme sends members of the House of Lords into schools, academies and colleges across the country to give talks in support of the citizenship curriculum.

Barnard Castle School’s head of sixth form Chris Butler said: “Almost a quarter of our sixth form study politics at AS and A level.

“In fact we have so many students interested in the subject that we have had to put on an extra study group this year and there is always a lot of political chat going on in the common room.

“Having a respected life peer come up from Parliament to talk directly to the students was an incredible opportunity for them to gain first-hand knowledge of the way politics actually works.”

Baroness Maddock’s talk, which gave a behind the scenes look at the work of the House of Lords, both inside and outside of the chamber, was followed by a question and answer session on all aspects of parliamentary processes and life at Westminster.

Boarder John Clouston, 16, whose family are posted with the military in Washington DC, said: “I didn’t have much interest in politics until I joined the sixth form at Barnard Castle School.

“Now I find it intriguing, especially UK political history. It was extremely interesting to find out what goes on in the House of Lords, how Peers help to change and create laws and how they hold the Government to account.”