Rhondda AM Leanne Wood dropped into Ysgol Gyfun Cymer to talk politics, confidence and ambition to an all-girl classroom.
The Penygraig-based Leader of Plaid Cymru spoke with girls from Years 7, 8 and 10 as part of a series of sessions they host to cultivate confidence among pupils.
After a brief talk about her background and day-today duties as a politician, Ms Wood fielded questions from pupils. Questions covered a wide range of topics such as Brexit, feminism, what motivated her to get into politics, votes at 16 and self-determination for Wales.
Afterwards, Ms Wood said: “I was impressed with the range and quality of questions that pupils came up with to ask me. I was also impressed by the enthusiasm that the pupils showed for politics.
“Ever since I entered full-time politics I have made visiting schools a priority for me. My message to all pupils is to get involved in politics and not leave it to others because it is far too important for that.
“Even if it is just to cast your vote at the earliest opportunity, participate in politics because important decisions are made by politicians in important areas such as education, health and the economy. If young people decide in large numbers not to vote, then it will make it that much easier for the powers-that-be to ignore their voice. We cannot allow that.
“It was also great to tell the pupils that there is no reason why they cannot have high ambitions and cannot succeed in school and in whatever it is they choose to do with their lives after school.
“In some cases, a lack of confidence is the only thing that holds people from the valleys back. My message to all the pupils today was to be more confident and to believe in yourself if you want to reach your full potential. I would like to thanks the school and the pupils for the invitation to speak – I thoroughly enjoyed it.”