West Buckland pupils take part in Local Democracy Week 2018

Posted on: 12 November 2018

Political speed debating, the final activity as part of this year’s Local Democracy Week (LDW), went down a storm at West Buckland School.

Last week (Thursday 8 November), nine North Devon councillors, along with Chief Executive Mike Mansell, attended the school to be quizzed by pupils from the lower sixth form.

The pupils were given four minutes to quiz each person in the hot seat and were allowed to ask anything, with this year’s topics including Brexit, the US mid-term elections, developments in the area including improvements to the Link Road and how the council works. Each councillor was then scored on their answers to the questions, approachability, listening skills and understanding the pupils’ issues.

Councillor Dick Jones came first, second was Councillor Ian Roome and Councillor Adam Bradford finished in third place.

Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor Des Brailey, says: “This is a great annual event. My fellow councillors and I enjoy having the opportunity to go out into a local school, meet the pupils and find out what issues are important to them.”

Chris Burrows, Director of Studies at the school, says: “I am delighted that West Buckland School has hosted this event for another year. I was very proud of the way our students participated in the event, they were a credit to the school and I would like to extend our thanks to all the Councillors who took part and to NDC Chief Executive, Mike Mansell for compering the event.

“It is important for our students to understand that politics is not just about central government, Brexit and Donald Trump, it is also about day to day things like roads, new houses and refuse collections. We want them to be engaged with local politics from an early age and to feel empowered that their votes can make a difference at a local level.”

Freddie Johnston, a pupil from the school, says “It was enjoyable to take part in this event, the councillors were very friendly and they weren’t as forceful about their political opinions as I thought they would be. Before taking part in this, I didn’t really understand what councillors did, so it was interesting to find out.”

Caithlynn Boler, another pupil, says “I’ve learned a lot about things that are planned for the area that I didn’t know about before, like the improvements to the Link Road. I found the event enjoyable and the councillors were really friendly and easy to talk to.”

Political speed debating was the final event organised by the council as part of Local Democracy Week which took place in October. The events are designed to engage with and support young people and encourage their participation in local democracy.

During LDW in October, pupils and students visited the council offices to find out what goes on behind the scenes. The theme of the event was reducing single use plastics and the impact of recycling on North Devon. They were also given the opportunity to quiz MP Peter Heaton-Jones, councillors and council staff as part of a ‘Question Time’ event.

If your school is interested in joining next year’s Local Democracy Week events, contact the council on 01271 388250 or email memberservices@northdevon.gov.uk

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Posted in: Democracy