Dozens of Malmesbury sixth form students put aside thoughts of their impending exam results to get to grips with vital world issues.

Twelve speakers from a wide range of organisations visited Malmesbury School last week for a Global Connections conference.

Organised by Year 12’s Global Action group, students heard talks from experts on subjects such as population growth and prisoners of conscience to challenging and worthwhile gap year and further education opportunities.

The Malmesbury students, who were also joined at the day-long seminar by sixth formers from Royal Wootton Bassett, involved speakers in lively discussion.

It followed a similar and successful event last year. Among this year’s speakers were representatives from Amnesty international, Bath University Centre for Development Studies, the Red Cross, a gap year company called The Leap and the Department for international Development.

Other subjects discussed included: developing peace and justice; children in war situations; providing African nations with better infrastructure; and how ecosystems support humanity.

Humanities teacher Anita Joy said: “The aim was to broaden our Year 12 students’ understanding of what higher education will be like and to increase their awareness of issues in the news so that they feel they can talk knowledgeably about some of these global concerns.

“We were lucky to be able to attract into school a wide range of speakers from universities, non-governmental organisations and government departments.”

One student said: “It was a brilliant day.

“It gave me real insight into how university lectures are run and a professional insight into many of the topics we read and hear about in the news.”

Another said: “The workshops were a real eye opener.

“It made me think about a lot of issues around human population, resources use and our impacts on wildlife. We cannot ignore these issues”.