VIDEO: Pupils from Spalding's Ayscoughfee Hall School learn about democracy on visit to South Holland District Council
Children from Ayscoughfee Hall School in Spalding were invited to visit the South Holland District Council offices for a tour of the building and an insight into how the council works.
Around 20 pupils from Year 6 went to the Priory Road office and spent the morning with councillors and officers, learning about various aspects of the council and the wider world of politics.
They worked with vice-chairman Coun Harry Drury and cabinet members Coun Roger Gambba-Jones and Coun Christine Lawton, as well as the council’s democratic services team, who gave them a brief history of the meaning and purpose of democracy, as well as insight into how the council operates and the decisions that it makes.
The visit culminated in the pupils getting a chance to exercise their own right to vote, entering a polling booth to choose their favourite TV programme and casting it into the ballot box, with Doctor Who taking a narrow victory over Strictly Come Dancing.
Coun Harry Drury said: “It was great to have the children with us at the council and see first-hand their interest and enthusiasm to learn more about what we do here and the impact that it has.
“Hands-on experience of democracy will give them a longer lasting memory about what was discussed and the opportunity to sit in the chamber and be able to ask councillors and officers questions about our work and ambitions, as well as make an important vote of their own, was great for all of them.”
Coun Roger-Gambba Jones championed the importance of teaching about democracy and politics, saying: “Democracy and all that flows from it, is the basis of our way of life in our country. It is therefore vitally important that our young people become aware, engage and actively participate in the process whenever the opportunity arises.
“Democracy doesn’t only involve you when you visit a polling station and make a mark on a piece of paper. It has an impact on every aspect of our lives every day and the way people vote influences the way councillors and officers of councils like South Holland make decisions and deliver services.
“I, my fellow councillors and our officers are committed to ensuring that as many of our residents as possible feel that they are able to participate in the democratic process in some way.
“Those too young to vote yet can still make their voices heard by contacting their local councillors about things that concern them. Once they’re able to they should then register to vote, so that they can participate in the democratic process fully.
"I would encourage anybody who is already old enough to vote, but hasn’t registered to do so, to get their names added on to the register, so that they too can become an active participant in the democratic process that so many people have given their lives to defend.”
There are a number of schools in the district who are planning visits to the council offices. If your school would like to take part, please email firstname.lastname@example.org