Pupils get a taste of democracy

MOVE over, councillors! Youngsters from Orwell High School in Felixstowe could just be after your jobs.A group of students from the school got a taste of democracy in action by taking over the council chamber at County Hall in Ipswich.

MOVE over, councillors! Youngsters from Orwell High School in Felixstowe could just be after your jobs.

A group of students from the school got a taste of democracy in action by taking over the council chamber at County Hall in Ipswich.

The 14 members of the student council are used to having their say about issues affecting the school at regular meetings.

But it was a far more daunting task to speak out in the huge chamber – where pupils needed microphones to be heard properly.


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County chief executive Lin Homer gave a brief talk about how the council operates, and then the young people tackled their agenda, ranging from a student charter to arrangements for a non-uniform day.

"This is different from one of our usual meetings," said Matthew Willoughby, 11, one of the year seven representatives.

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"The chamber is much bigger than the room where we meet at school. I'm quite excited because I've never been here before."

Year eight pupil Jamie Greening, 13, agreed, saying: "This is very different from what we're used to!"

Headteacher David Forrest said: "I think it's great. A lot of our kids and their parents won't have been in a council chamber at all.

"Obviously they are involved in school democracy and so it's very appropriate for them to get this opportunity."

Mr Forrest said he was very grateful to Felixstowe county councillor David Rowe, who arranged the visit to tie in with the school's work on democracy and citizenship.

Mr Rowe has been working with the school on these themes and arranged for the student councils at both Orwell and Deben High Schools to receive grants from the county's locality budget.

Members of the Orwell student council discussed how best to spend their £1,000 grant, which will be used to improve part of the school playground.

School council co-ordinator and head of year eight Debbie Green said the regular meetings were important, helping to build and maintain good relationships between staff and students.

"There are representatives from each year group. It's all part of citizenship and links in with the new curriculum."

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