Schoolchildren become councillors for a day
Schoolchildren swapped the classroom for the council chamber when they took part in a Democracy Day on Friday (15 June).
Pupils from seven schools in the north of the Chichester District held a mock election in which they became 'candidates' and came up with their own political parties. Among the tactics used by one of the parties to get votes was to give away free ice cream.
The children also made their own rosettes and banners for their parties and came up with manifestos.
The mock election was won by pupils from Midhurst Primary School who had formed The D2BD Dare To Be Different Party. Among their manifesto pledges was to encourage everyone to be who they want to be and be accepting of other people's differences.
The schoolchildren also participated in a 'Big Debate' on the topic of whether community resolution is the right way to deal with crime. Community resolution is where offenders are offered the option to work in the community rather can get a fine or go to court. This option is usually only for first offences of low level crimes and often involves litter picking and clearing gardens. Pupils had already researched and formulated their arguments in preparation for the mock debate in class. Before the debate pupils were given a briefing so they could find out more about the role of the council's Community Safety team.
All the children taking part were aged 10 and 11. The participating schools were:
Councillor Peter Clementson, Chairman of Chichester District Council, says: "This was a wonderful opportunity for the pupils to get more involved with the council. As well as the children finding out about us and what we do, this event provided an opportunity for us to hear the views of young people on community safety. We were also very impressed with some of the ideas they put forward for their political parties. It would be lovely to think that out of this day some of the children may be inspired to go on to be future councillors themselves."
The council's Democracy Day events have been nationally recognised because of its innovative approach to youth participation. Earlier this year the council was named as one of five organisations chosen by the British Youth Council to receive its prestigious 'innovation award'. The Youth On Board Awards celebrated organisations, projects and individuals that supported youth participation in innovative and exciting ways.
Date: 19 June 2012