There has never been a more relevant time to analyse the United Kingdom’s role in Europe. With daily news coverage about the development of the UK’s departure from Europe, students from Ralph Thoresby School and Lawnswood School’s Sixth Form Partnership were able to question one of Yorkshire’s representatives in Europe on the issues that matter to young people.

As the centrepiece to the four day visit to Belgium, students asked Richard Corbett MEP about his views on the impact of Brexit for young people, the ‘Value for Money’ that Europe offers, whether the British government will secure trade deals with Europe following it leaving the EU.

A political aide at the parliament provided an insight into the day-to-day workings of the European parliament and the improvements it has helped to create for citizens across the continent. The visit ended with an ‘access all areas’ tour of the parliament, including a visit to one of the committee meetings, which sees representatives working together.

The 40 students have also been gaining an understanding of globalised marketing techniques in a visit to Coca Cola’s European HQ in Antwerp, where they saw the development of the world’s most valuable brand throughout the last century.

Says Stewart McGill, the trip organiser, 'It is without doubt that the learning undertaken from both an economic and business perspective will help to enhance the application of knowledge in formal assessments. However, the visit has achieved much more and all students have evidenced their ability to hold our political leaders to account and challenge them appropriately on the matters that affect their futures. To be amongst the tiny number of people who are granted access to the parliament is just one example of the many incredible opportunities the RTS and Lawnswood Sixth From Partnership can provide our students.

However, the trip has not all been hard work and has given students the chance to develop a cultural understanding of Belgium with a visit to a world-famous artisan chocolatier and the famous city of Bruges. Ice skating in Bruges proved to be a great way to spend an afternoon after first climbing to the top of the belfy tower to enjoy spectacular views of the picturesque town. Staff and students alike marvelled at the rock memorabilia at the much-loved Hard Rock cafe at a special celebratory meal!