Student Council members to have their voices heard by Local Government

On Wednesday 29th November, Withernsea High School’s student council took part in a workshop led by members of the ERYC Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny sub-committee.

The role of the sub-committee is to review the general policies and performance of East Riding of Yorkshire Council and external organisations in relation to education, schools, support and safeguarding services. It also scrutinises individual decisions taken by the cabinet and monitors the council's performance in those areas.

The aim of the young people's workshop is to ensure that the sub-committee is looking into topics that are actually affecting young people in the East Riding. Working alongside ERYC Councillors Medini, Aitken, Steel and Smith, interim Principal Committee Manager Gareth Naidoo, plus Senior Committee Managers Samm Campbell and Alison Finn, the students were given the opportunity to discuss a range of topics and issues. The roles of central and local government were explored and students were asked to vote on a range of hypothetical funding choices for council services which provoked hot debate among the student body. 

Supported by the visiting councillors, students worked in small groups to suggest potential topics to be heard by the sub-committee. The student council then collectively narrowed the choices down to a single topic which they will research in preparation for presenting their findings in a meeting to be held at County Hall in February 2018.

The meeting will offer our students a fantastic opportunity to have their voices heard in the chamber of local government.

During his attendance at the Children and Young People’s Overview and Scrutiny meeting at County Hall in June this year, Headteacher Richard Williman extended the invitation for the sub-committee to visit Withernsea High School.

Mr Williman commented: ‘It was a real pleasure to welcome members of the sub-committee to Withernsea High School and join them as they worked with members of our student council.

As always, our students conducted themselves in a very mature way and I was delighted to once again receive highly positive feedback from our visitors.

Well done to all who were involved and for showing such maturity throughout the workshop.’

ERYC Senior Committee Manager Alison Finn added: 'It was lovely to meet the members of the student council at Withernsea High School. They were a credit to the school and really enthusiastic about researching a topic which affects children and young people throughout the East Riding.

In addition, I have added two items that weren't chosen at the workshop to the work programme for the councillors to consider next year.

The members of the sub-committee are looking forward to seeing their presentation and showing the students around the council chamber next year.’

Sixth Form student Alex Ogilvie, leader of the Student Council, commented: ‘By taking part in this workshop we have gained a better understanding of what the council has responsibility for and how similar the structure of their meetings are to our own.

We have discovered a range of projects that ERYC are involved with and how the council has to make a number of difficult decisions to manage them. The student council have discovered that with some topics, you have to be sensitive in the way that you approach them and to always try and learn more about each one.

For me personally, the experience has shown how aware some of the younger students are of local problems and how passionate they are for change.’

Since a new format of workshops was introduced in 2014, the sub-committee have held successful sessions at locations around the county including East Riding College, Goole Academy and Headlands School in Bridlington.