Ahead of UK Parliament week which runs from Monday 14 to Friday 20 November, Dr Dan visited a number of primary schools across Central Suffolk and North Ipswich and was delighted to meet pupils representing their individual school councils.
What really impressed Dr Dan was the enthusiasm and dedication with which the children take their role on the school council. This demonstrates the level of interest and engagement our young people feel with our democracy and while many may feel that people are becoming disengaged with politics, the opposite certainly seems to be ringing true in our younger generations here in Suffolk.
School councils are an excellent way for children to learn about democracy at a very early age and it gives them a voice within their school community. They are made up of a group of students who are elected to represent their fellow students' views. The election process to become a class representative can be hotly contested and Dr Dan very much enjoyed hearing tales of the election tactics and voting process from a number of the children. It was clear to Dr Dan that the pupils take great pride in their role and see it as a way to make changes for the better within their own school community.
School councils are a great platform for students to gain further confidence in public speaking, putting forward the views of their fellow students and making the case for their suggestions; these could be anything from fundraising for new playground equipment, suggesting a change to the school uniform or even initiatives to look out for each other and prevent bullying.
One of the key factors in a successful school council is undoubtedly communication. This can be communication between students to make sure that their ideas are heard, but also communication between staff and Governors, all of whom are working closely together to enhance the school environment.
The role of school councillor helps to further develop essential life skills such working together as a team, communication skills, learning to listen to and respect each other and then to reach a compromise when all sides of the conversation have been put forward. These are all valuable skills which will be needed as children progress through their education and then ultimately into their chosen careers.
UK Parliament Week is an annual festival which has been developed by the Houses of Parliament as part of its Outreach and Engagement service, and it has become a platform for schools to become more involved with Parliament from across the UK, exploring what Parliament and democracy means and encouraging them to become more involved. With over 250 events and activities taking place across the country, from workshops and discussions, to film screenings and historical archives and, UK Parliament Week is a fantastic opportunity to find out how you can better make your voice heard and learn more about the workings of Parliament.
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Written Answers — Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Energy: Billing (23 Oct 2017)
Daniel Poulter: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what information the Government holds on how many households have been on British Gas, E.on, EDF, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE's standard variable tariffs for (a) five years or more and (b) 10 years or more.
Written Answers — Department for Education: Pre-school Education: Admissions (17 Oct 2017)
Daniel Poulter: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the report entitled, Study of early education and development: the potential value for money of early education, published in July 2017, what sample size was used to calculate the mean hourly delivery cost for a three to four-year old place in the east of England.