RBCS Students’ Discussion with Rt Hon Sir Alok Sharma KCMG, MP


On Friday 3rd February, a number of our Sixth Form students studying A Level Politics, members of the Model United Nations and representatives of the RBCS Environmental Society welcomed Old Blue, the Right Honourable Sir Alok Sharma KCMG MP (1985), to an open discussion.

Sir Alok is a British politician who served as President Designate, and subsequently President, of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) from 2020 to 2022.  He initially held the COP26 role concurrently with serving as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy but worked fulltime on COP26 from January 2021 whilst retaining full Cabinet status.

Sir Alok left the Cabinet at the end of October 2022 and was knighted in King Charles III’s 2023 New Year Honours list for services to tackling climate change. Sir Alok has served as the Conservative MP for Reading West since 2010.

At the start of the meeting, Sir Alok introduced himself and shared information about his school days here at Reading Blue Coat and told students to make the most of the many opportunities presented to them at the school.  He went on to ask those in the room about their own plans for the future.  These ranged from wanting to study Geography at university to becoming a diplomat.

Students asked Sir Alok questions concerning the COP26 conference, the global efforts to tackle climate change, green growth, UK government policy and actions, as well as the day-to-day life of being a politician.  Sir Alok answered every question in considerable detail and also spoke about his own political journey and political influences.

He explained that although the UK was making great efforts to cut emissions, with a 40 per cent reduction over the past 30 years, we needed like every other country to go further and faster if all countries were going to meet their net zero target dates. Sir Alok also outlined some of the support being provided to developing nations to help them decarbonise their energy systems and economies.

As the meeting closed, Sir Alok encouraged us to share our political beliefs with our peers to enable us to start our own political discussions.  Reflecting on the meeting, everyone found something to take away from our discussion with Sir Alok.  As MUN students, we learned that transparency and trust are vital to build strong diplomatic relations – a skill we will be able to implement into future MUN conferences.  Overall, we are all grateful for this valuable experience which has encouraged all of us to focus on our diplomatic skills and enabled us to have a wider insight into the world of diplomacy.

Alia Wheeler – Model United Nations Student, Year 12

(Left to right: Mr Pete Thomas – Headmaster; Sir Alok Shama – KCMG MP; Mr Howard Williams – Chairman of Governors)

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