Primary school pupils seize control of Portsmouth – in new children’s parliament

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POLITICIANS are set to be handed a list of demands – by pupils elected to represent their peers in a children’s parliament.

Primary school children have selected fellow pupils in a vote, with a meeting of the parliament taking place at the council chamber in Portsmouth Guildhall next month.

Terry Norton and Councillor Donna Jones (centre), Caroline Brennan (far right) alongside successful candidates elected for the Children's Parliament.

Terry Norton and Councillor Donna Jones (centre), Caroline Brennan (far right) alongside successful candidates elected for the Children's Parliament.

Children will discuss the issues they hold to be most important for the communities they live in, and meet with councillors at Portsmouth City Council.

Harry McArthur, 10, was lucky enough to be elected. He said: ‘It was exciting and fun because a lot of people got involved.

‘I am really looking forward to taking part. I would like to see more sports facilities in the city.

Year 3 pupil, Lauren Downey, eight, added: ‘It was fun and I’m happy that my classmates voted for me.

Children's Parliament founders, Leah Benford (left) and Caroline Brennan (right).

Children's Parliament founders, Leah Benford (left) and Caroline Brennan (right).

‘I am going to make sure everyone gets treated fairly.’

Children from Solent Infant and Junior schools and Court Lane Infant and Junior schools have taken part.

The project has been coordinated by Dream Catchers, an after-school children’s support initiative run by Caroline Brennan and Leah Benford.

Caroline said: ‘It is important that children have a voice that needs to be heard. Children’s parliament creates an opportunity for children’s voices to carry prominence and value.

‘Not only do children have a direct role in the governance of their play and learning but they have the chance to engage directly in dialogue with adults of power and influence.’

Electioneering began at the start of the spring term.

Children from each school year put themselves forward as a representative to serve in the Dream Catchers parliament.

Pupils created their own manifesto which included information about themselves and some of the policies they would like to put in place.


After voting took place, Hilsea councillor, Donna Jones, and former Conservative council candidate Terry Norton, announced the representatives from each year group who had achieved the most votes.

Cllr Jones, former council leader, said: ‘I think it is really important to engage children in democracy from a young age.’