The importance of student voice at Purbrook Park School

POLITICS is important. From the cost of a pint of milk to the amount of money going into education, all things stem from political decisions made in parliament and at a local level.

Friday, 26th April 2019, 5:34 pm
Updated Friday, 26th April 2019, 5:43 pm
Members of Youth Parliament believe the Government should listen to the views of young people. Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

As a result, I recently sought to become a member of the UK Youth Parliament, in order to bring about social change. This opportunity provides pupils aged 11 to 18 with the chance to use their chosen voice to bring about social change. Through campaigning and meaningful representation, young people discuss the things that matter and that they would like to alter. During their term, MYPs (Members of Youth Parliament) run campaigns and projects to try and improve issues, both locally and nationally, that are important and impact upon young people. As part of providing young people with a voice, an annual Make Your Mark Vote is held, which allows pupils to choose an issue that is of the utmost importance to them. This is then discussed at the House of Commons. Members of the Youth Parliament take over the House of Commons for the day and the debate is led by the Speaker of the House of Common.

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The Youth Parliament was created in 1998. In 2018, around 130,674 young people voted that there was a need to have a “Curriculum for Life” which demands that that the curriculum addresses the need young people feel to better understand finances, relationships and sex, the political system as well as citizenship. In order to achieve this, the Youth Parliament requested that teachers be trained in these issues so that they become empowered to deliver quality lessons on the issues that really matter. Through the Children and Social Work Bill, Relationships and Sex education will be compulsory from September 2019 and there are plans for the Government to consult on giving the same status to personal, social, health and economic education. It proves that young people do have a voice and that change is possible if we speak up for what we believe is important. For me being an MYP means I will work to make positive changes. I am looking forward to the challenge ahead and to working with fellow MYPs in Hampshire at representing the pupils and young people in our area.