School council gives children a voice

Young Peoples Parliment at South Shields Town Hall. Mayor Fay Cunningham. Deputy leader of South Tyneside Council Alan Kerr
Young Peoples Parliment at South Shields Town Hall. Mayor Fay Cunningham. Deputy leader of South Tyneside Council Alan Kerr

a NEW school council has been launched in South Tyneside to give young people more of a voice.

Representatives from each of the borough’s schools have been invited to join together to have their say on issues affecting them.

The first meeting, organised by South Tyneside’s young people’s parliament, was held at South Shields Town Hall, on Friday.

The new group is putting health at the top of its agenda and will focus on healthy eating, emotional wellbeing and staying active.

The meeting was officially opened by the Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Fay Cunningham.

South Tyneside Council deputy leader Coun Alan Kerr and Coun Joan Atkinson, the authority’s lead member for children, young people and families, were also in attendance.

Coun Kerr said: “This initiative is a great way of bringing together the views of all the borough’s schools.

“By working together in this way, young people will be able to generate more ideas, and it will give them more power to influence policy, which should lead to positive changes in their own school communities and beyond.”

By taking part in the session, pupils can earn their school points towards healthy school status, a nationally-accredited programme to improve overall standards of health.

Coun Atkinson said: “We know that each school council does tremendous work individually, but by sharing best practice across the borough, our young people will be able to have far greater impact.

“I’m delighted that they have chosen to focus on health as their first priority.

“It’s important that people adopt healthy lifestyles from a young age, so this is a wonderful opportunity to learn from young people themselves on how best how to encourage this.”

The borough-wide school council will meet again in March to share its findings and put in place suggestions made so far.

A third meeting will be held to discuss changes made and celebrate achievements. The group’s members will be treated to a residential stay at Thurston Outdoor Education Centre at Coniston in Cumbria in the summer as a reward for their commitment and dedication.

For information about the group, call participation and consultation officer Laura Kate Johnson on 424 6338 or e-mail laura.kate.johnson2@southtyneside.gov.uk

Twitter: @shieldsgazlisa