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Breaking down the barriers of voting
2:50pm Tuesday 22nd October 2013 in News
PUPILS will learn for themselves how and why their vote matters as part of a bid to demystify democracy.
A new project, launched for Local Democracy Week, will see local schoolchildren, supported by elected councillors and electoral experts from Redditch Council, take part in a number of activities.
Competitions, work experience placements and hands-on practical activities will form the school project which has been designed to break down some of the barriers that young people have said stop them exercising their right to vote.
St Augustine’s High School was first on board with the project.
Citizenship co-ordinator Ruth Waite said: “We’re delighted to work together with the council on this.
“Having councillors and elections professionals on hand to support our work with our GCSE and sixth-form students on the citizenship curriculum should be of real benefit.
“We’re planning to involve the students as much as possible so they really engage with the project.”
Redditch Councillor John Fisher, who is responsible for democracy, added: “It’s our duty to prepare our children for their crucial role in our democracy and we are delighted at the response to our proposals from the high schools.”
This expansion of the council’s work with young people and democracy comes ahead of changes to voter registration scheduled to begin next June, where citizens will become solely responsible for their own voter registration.
Redditch Council’s Head of legal equalities and democratic services Claire Felton said: “When ‘Individual Electoral Registration’ comes in next year, young people aged 16 plus will become responsible for ensuring that they are registered to vote rather than relying on a member of their household to do this for them at the annual canvass.
“That makes this work more relevant now than ever.
“All the high schools in Redditch are being invited to join this project and the response has been really positive.”
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