Children's Parliament at UWE

Issue date: 23 May 2005

ISSUE DATE: 23/05/05

Faculty of Education; Frenchay Campus Wednesday 25 May 2005

Over 130 children from North Bristol secondary and primary schools will descend on the Faculty of Education at the University of the West of England for a Children’s Parliament on Wednesday 25 May 2005. For many of the children it will be the first time they have set foot in a university.

Schools taking part include Fonthill Primary, Brentry Primary, Westbury on Trym C of E, Henbury Court Primary, Bank Leaze Primary, Blaize Primary, Elmlea Infants and Junior Schools, Embleton Road Primary and Henbury Secondary.

The children are all school councillors from the above schools and they will come together at Bristol UWE to form a Parliament. Each councillor will have the opportunity to learn about issues that concern them and to share their own good practice.

To help the school councillors develop their knowledge they will attend three from five workshops looking at sharing good practice. Each school will experience all five workshops and each councillor will attend three workshops. The workshop subjects were chosen by the children and include a wildlife workshop looking at how to encourage wildlife in school premises; peer mediation investigating how children can resolve problems in schools themselves; a Successes workshop pupils where will be able to tell other schools how they achieved success in a variety of areas. For example, Henbury Court will be passing on their tips about how to raise money which they did most successfully for the victims of the Tsunami. They will share ideas on common concerns, toilets and cloakrooms, improving playtimes and lunchtimes and so on. There will also be workshops looking at Litter and Waste management in schools and ‘Eco-Schools’

Miranda McCabe, a primary school teacher at Westbury on Trym C of E Primary School and School Council Consultant for the North Bristol Opportunities Network has helped to organise the day. Miranda said, “The parliament gives children the opportunity to meet up and work together on issues important to all of them. They will create action plans to take their learning back into schools for further development. The culmination of the day will be a presentation at the end of the ‘session’. This will give the children an insight into how their concerns have been taken seriously and addressed.

Professor Ron Ritchie, Dean of the Faculty of Education at Bristol UWE, will open the parliament at 9.30am. Ron said, “We are delighted that this very successful idea has been embraced by the school students once again. The Faculty hosted a Children’s Parliament in 2004 and this was a tremendous event enjoyed by all the children taking part. A knock-on benefit of holding events like this at UWE is that children get to experience a day at University and student trainee teachers get hands on work experience.”

Nick Clough from the Faculty of Education at Bristol UWE has been instrumental in setting up the Children’s Parliament with Miranda McCabe, he said “This Parliament is a day when the children take the lead. It provides an excellent educational experience and builds confidence in children’s awareness that their participation in the life of their school makes a positive difference.”

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