Northumberland pupils join the debate
More than 200 pupils took part in an interactive session with local councillors at County Hall, Morpeth, to mark Local Democracy Week.
Schools across Northumberland celebrated the national event which aims to raise young people’s awareness of how local councils operate and how they can get involved in decision making in their local communities.
Students aged nine to 18 flocked into the council chamber over two days to take part in the event which included a live e-voting session, a question and answer session with local councillors and a presentation about democracy, careers in democratic services and the Northumberland’s Youth Cabinet.
Councillors Scott Dickinson, Richard Dodd, Brian Gallacher, Alan Sambrook, Bernard Pidcock, Heather Cairns, Anne Dale, Gavin Jones, John Woodman and Liz Simpson joined students in the council chamber to answer pupils’ questions about local democracy, elections, council services and more.
Coun Scott Dickinson, business chairman at Northumberland County Council, said: “Local Democracy Week is great for engaging young people in local politics and it’s a fantastic opportunity for them to see where lots of the big decisions are made concerning their local communities.
“These events at County Hall will hopefully encourage young people to voice their opinions on things that interest or affect them and will help them to understand the role of the council and our councillors. We had some fantastic questions from the students and it was great to see them enthusiastic to get involved in local issues.”
Students from Berwick Middle School, Church of England Academy and St Benedict’s Middle School in Ashington, Corbridge Middle School, Duke’s Middle School and Lindisfarne Middle School in Alnwick, Dr Thomlinson Middle School in Rothbury, James Calvert Spence College in Amble, Bedlingtonshire High School, The King Edward VI School in Morpeth and St Benet Biscops Catholic High School in Bedlington, gathered together across two days to take part in the session.
Local Democracy Week started on Monday and runs until Saturday. During the week, councils across the country have hosted events to engage thousands of young people.