Year 9 pupils from Tiverton High School took part in a Question Time debate with a panel made up of District, Town and county councillors and the local Police. Andrew Lovett, headmaster, assumed the role of David Dimbleby, keeping the debate to order.
Mid-Devon District Council arranges activities every year with local schools during Local Democracy Week, which took place October 11 to 15), with the aim of encouraging young people to gain an understanding of how decisions are made at a local level and how they can influence the services that affect them.
The main topic of the debate was ‘Does Tiverton have enough to offer young people?’ During the debate pupils asked the panel about leisure opportunities, job prospects and perceptions of the town.
Amy Gratton, the Mid-Devon Council’s Consultation and Youth Involvement Officer, who co-ordinated the event, told the Devon Week: “It was a great opportunity for pupils to question people with authority, while highlighting issues that concern them.”
Andrew said: “It was not only good for the students to hear the thoughts and views of the Councillors, but also for the Councillors to hear the thoughts and views of the students. I felt the students gained a lot from this event and it also encouraged some of the shyer ones to speak up and make their feelings known.”
Also during the week, Mid-Devon Council launched its Youth Forum, which gives an opportunity for young people to ask the council a question. Questions will then be responded to by either a professional officer, a councillor, or both. The Forum was designed after young people said that they didn’t know how to communicate with the council.
The Forum can be found by going to the Mid-Devon Council’s young people page.