A TEAM from Eynsham’s Bartholomew School was voted the winner of a Politics in Action day organised by West Oxfordshire District Council.

The aim of the event was to give sixth-formers from the 10 secondary schools in the district the chance to experience life as a politician.

The teams went head-to-head to tackle some tough political decision-making at the event at the council’s headquarters in Woodgreen, Witney, on Friday.

They were asked to come up with a project they believed would improve a council service or benefit the community, while taking into consideration the financial pressures faced by local authorities.

The students gave presentations and answered questions from a cross-party panel of district councillors.

Students, teachers, councillors and council staff who helped with the event then voted on the ideas, with the Eynsham team’s car pooling plan taking most votes and winning them a trip to London to visit the Houses of Parliament.

The team came up with a series of ideas to increase car pooling among commuters to help reduce congestion, particularly on the A40 between Witney and Oxford. These included the idea of an extra lane for use by car-sharing drivers only, with incentives and a publicity campaign led by the slogan #carpooling.

Carterton Community College came second with a project to create homes in unusual spaces, such as shipping containers, to tackle housing shortages.

Joint third place went to Kingham Hill School, which put forward proposals to encourage small business growth, and Marlborough School, Woodstock, which concentrated on emergency service response times.

Caitlin McManus, 16, from Bartholomew School, said: “Traffic congestion affects most people and as we all live near the A40, we know how problematic it is, so that’s why we came up with the idea.

"Car pooling isn’t a new idea but our project involved lots of extra things to make it more appealing.”

Richard Langridge, the council’s cabinet member for communities, who hosted the event, said: “Congratulations to all the students – their presentations were absolutely fantastic.”