Boston Borough Council welcomed 150 pupils and students from schools and colleges in the Borough who got involved with Local Democracy Week through a series of events aimed at raising their awareness of how democracy works.
Secondary school pupils age 14 to 17 years attended ‘Mock’ Scrutiny meetings, ‘Mock’ Licencing hearings and joined in a debate on ‘Are social networking sites good for our society?’. These were all held in the Banqueting hall at Boston Guildhall where it was transformed onto Boston’s own ‘House of Commons’.
Primary school pupils aged six to 11 learned about the history of the council, how council meetings are conducted, the value of voting, the role of being Mayor and they heard many interesting facts about Boston and the meaning of the Regalia, which was delivered by the Mayor’s Officers. This was followed by a tour around our CCTV suite.
Pupils aged 9 to 11 years also took place in a debate and asked to make a vote, which was based on ‘Restrictions on screen time’. Once side of the house debated in favour of the restrictions on screen time and the other side debated against. This was a robust debate offering open and honest discussion as to why the house should vote in your favour. The winning vote with 51% of the votes was to have restrictions on screen time.
30 primary pupils took part in a schools challenge, with quizmaster Dave taking the lead. The challenge included a democracy quiz, name that flag, jigsaw jumble, recycling relay and name that tune.
Miss Anstey from Wyberton Primary said: “We have had a fantastic afternoon at Boston Guildhall with Boston Borough Council celebrating Democracy Week. Wyberton have proven to be recycling champions!”
Wednesday we held public session on Boston Market where residents could come and speak to us and learn more about our week of activities in respect of Local Democracy and Friday was a ‘Informal Open House’ at Boston Guildhall between 10am and 2pm. A one-off opportunity for everyone to pop along and ask as many questions as they wanted about the Council, in an informal setting. Getting an insight into the service areas of the Council, meeting local ward councillors and many officers from the council.
Kate Harrison, from Fishtoft Academy whose pupils took part in the screen time debate said: “Thank you for a lovely afternoon, the children were full of it on the journey back and enjoyed completing their first ever vote. It was a super link to our literacy and we shall be writing our balanced arguments tomorrow in class. It is great to have a real purpose for our work and to see how the real world works.”
Cllr Aaron Spencer, Leader of the Council said: “I strongly believe that young people should be encouraged to engage with our democracy in a meaningful way on issues that matter to them, particularly at a local level.
“These events have led to students working closely with other schools and colleges and indeed council employees and councillors – all of whom give their time and gravitas to such events. Without a doubt I feel that it has been excellent for bringing the community together and a real awareness of the impact democracy has.”