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The Huddersfield Daily Examiner: Baroness Warsi of Dewsbury inspires Crosland Moor students

STUDENTS at a Crosland Moor school were inspired by a talk from Baroness Warsi of Dewsbury, Britain’s first female Muslim Cabinet minister.

Dewsbury-born Baroness Warsi, who asked students to call her by her first name Sayeeda, spoke to year 11 students at Moor End Academy.

Her visit was part of the Speakers for Schools initiative.

Former solicitor Baroness Warsi, who became a life peer in 2007, served in Prime Minister David Cameron’s Cabinet as minister without portfolio from May 2010 to September last year.

In a speech full of down-to-earth honesty and humour, Baroness Warsi spoke about her ‘journey’ from growing up in Dewsbury and studying at Birkdale High School and Dewsbury College to an ill-fated bid to become Tory MP for Dewsbury in 2005 and her eventual elevation to the House of Lords and the Cabinet.

Baroness Warsi also spoke about the barriers she had faced and overcome.

After her speech, students spent half-an-hour questioning the Baroness, showing a surprising level of knowledge about politics.

Sylvia Greaves, year 11 learning leader, said the visit was perfectly timed as students had been looking at how people communicated.

She added: “Year 11 students were able to observe at close quarters someone who is a skilled speaker.

“Baroness Warsi deployed both wit and candour and I personally found her story fascinating and was very glad she came, and so were year 11, who surprised themselves by becoming more engaged in the extended question and answer session than they had anticipated.”

Baroness Warsi’s visit was made possible by Speakers for Schools, an organisation set up by the BBC’s Robert Peston, through which state schools may apply to have an inspirational speaker visit their school, free of charge.

Any school is able to apply and application forms can be found at http://www.speakers4schools.org

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