Pitcheroak students create council

Redditch Advertiser: Pitcheroak student Adam Guest casts his vote, supported by Zoe Barton from the council’s Electoral Services team. SP Pitcheroak student Adam Guest casts his vote, supported by Zoe Barton from the council’s Electoral Services team. SP

STUDENTS at a Redditch school are on the way to creating their own student council after a project to help demystify democracy visited their classrooms.

A day of learning about voting at Pitcheroak Sixth Form on Monday, December 2 culminated in a landslide mock election victory for a candidate who promised to keep the school closed on Christmas Day.

The Batchley sixth form is the latest school to welcome elections experts from Redditch Council who are reaching out to local young people approaching voting age.

As well as the light-hearted election, Pitcheroak students found out the kinds of things that their vote affects in a game of ‘Pin the service on the town hall’.

Pitcheroak Sixth Form co-ordinator Claire Amos said: "Young people have the most to gain and lose in any election because they have to live with the consequences longer than anyone else. Our students have really enjoyed learning and understanding that their vote is their voice."

Competitions, hands-on practical activities and even work experience placements are all part of the council’s latest democracy project. The aim is to break down the barriers that young people nationwide have said stop them exercising their right to vote, ahead of next year when they will become responsible for registering themselves to vote – in many cases, voting for the first time.

Councillor John Fisher, who is responsible for democracy, said: “I’m delighted with this latest work in the project. Next year for the first time we will all become individually responsible for ensuring that we are registered to vote, and from the age of 16. No longer will someone in the household, commonly a parent or an older adult, be able register anyone else in their household and that includes their children. Young people need to know not only what to do, but why it’s important.”

The ongoing democracy project was unveiled for Local Democracy Week in October at St Augustine’s High School in Hunt End. Work is now taking place with RSA Academy Arrow Vale in Matchborough.

For more information on the project or for schools that may want to get involved, contact the Electoral Services team on 01527 881421.

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