Young people meet politicians and learn about democracy at Youth Council event

05th December 2022


Politically minded young people from nineteen schools across Three Rivers have taken part in a meeting with local politicians as they kick start a year of activities to influence how they learn key subjects at school.

The Three Rivers Youth Council met in the main council chamber of Three Rivers District Council on 23 November. Forty-four pupils attended the event remotely, or in person, to hear from the Chair of the Council Cllr Debbie Morris, Youth Champion Cllr Jon Tankard, Lead Member for Leisure Cllr Chris Lloyd, the Lead Member for Environmental Services, Climate Change and Sustainability Cllr Phil Williams, and the Labour Group Leader Cllr Stephen Cox.

The event launched a year-long focus on ‘Stream’, which stands for Science, Technology, Research, Engineering, Arts, and Maths. Stream is a framework for students and teachers, to develop projects based around students’ ideas. The children were asked to think about what is important to them and to generate and develop ideas to take back to their school in the hope that their ideas may influence how they learn in the future.

Two children from each school, who are members of their school councils, attended the event to hear Cllr Tankard explain the democratic process and the role of councillors, whilst Cllr Morris gave a flavour of her role as chair. Pupils also had an opportunity to put their questions to a panel of councillors.

Cllr Morris said: “I was delighted to be part of this fantastic event. It was great to see so many schools represented from across the district. The pupils asked some excellent questions of me and other councillors. I believe that engagements of this kind really help improve understanding of the work the Chair and councillors do.”

Cllr Tankard said: “It was a fascinating day for all of us, and really rewarding to see how engaged the young people were in learning all about the democratic process - these could be the politicians of the future.”

Duncan Roberts, head teacher at Little Green Junior School and the Youth Council school lead, said: “It is an honour to jointly lead the student council forum in partnership with the supportive district council and local schools. This year saw engagement increase to nineteen schools including secondary representation and schools from all areas of Three Rivers. The singular aim of the forum is to promote positive democratic student action. This year we asked children how they could promote a greater engagement and celebration of underrepresented elements of the curriculum.”

The Youth Council meets twice a year and aims to engage local young people in democracy, teach them about debate and priority choosing as well as giving them a chance to meet locally elected representatives.

The schools who took part this year were Yorke Mead Primary School, Arnett Hills JMI School,

Eastbury Farm Primary School, Little Green Junior School, Malvern Way Infant and Nursery School,

St Mary’s CE School, Rickmansworth, Sarratt CE Primary School, Chorleywood Primary School, Christ Church Chorleywood CE School, St Peter’s CE Primary School,The Russell School, Maple Cross JMI and Nursery School, Harvey Road Primary School, Rickmansworth Park Junior Mixed and Infant School, Warren Dell Primary School, Oxhey Wood Primary School, St Meryl School, The Reach Free School and Rickmansworth School.

The district council is offering £100 to each school to support the Youth Council projects. The next event will take place in the summer when pupils have a chance to share their achievements.