School pupils make a date with local democracy

Councillors Bulled, Walker, Mack, Worden, Pearson, Patrinos, Biederman, Lofthouse and Tucker with pupils from West Buckland School at the event.

Posted on: 14 January 2020

Pupils from West Buckland School have made a date with local democracy as a follow up to National Democracy Week (NDW).

On Monday (13 January 2020) district councillors from North Devon Council visited the school near Barnstaple to take part in a political speed dating event with its pupils. The event organised by the council gives the pupils four minutes to quiz each councillor on any topic they wish. Topics this year included renewable energy, the councillors working background and what their role involves at the council.

Each councillor was scored on their answers to the questions, approachability, listening skills and understanding the pupils’ issues. Leader of the council, Councillor David Worden came first, second was council chairman, Councillor Frank Biederman and Councillor Graham Lofthouse finished in third place.

NDW took place in October 2019, it aims to raise awareness of what democracy means and to encourage more people to take part.

Leader of North Devon Council, Councillor David Worden, says:  “The political speed dating event is a great opportunity for our district councillors to get out there and find out what matters to the young people of North Devon. It’s also a very interesting and enjoyable event and helps us to highlight how democracy works at a local level.”

Attending the event from the school, Katie Woods, a year 12 pupil, says: “I think that the event was really beneficial for us, it was something I would encourage others to take part in. I feel as though I’ve learnt lots about democracy and North Devon in a very short space of time.”

Also attending the event from the school, Mackenzie Clarke, a year 12 pupil, says: “The event was really eye-opening. As a young person, I found it interesting to find out how the council operates and that councillors from different political parties are represented and involved.”

During NDW North Devon Council officers and councillors took part in events themed around making North Devon plastic free and recycling. The events included ‘Question Time’ an opportunity for pupils to quiz a panel of councillors and representatives from local businesses and organisations including Plastic Free North Devon and the media. Information sessions were also held at council offices at Brynsworthy Recycling Centre so pupils could find out what happens to items collected for recycling.

Pupils from The Park Community School, Pilton Community College, West Buckland School, South Molton Community Primary School and Braunton Academy took part in these events.

If your school is interested in joining next year’s Local Democracy Week events, contact the council on 01271 388253 or email

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Posted in: Democracy