Friday, 27 June 2014
South Ayrshire Council sets the wheels of debate in motion
Pupils from South Ayrshire secondary schools have taken part in a mock council debate, spending the day as local elected representatives as they met in session at Council headquarters in Ayr.
[Pictured: Provost Helen Moonie, centre left, is pictured with school pupils who took part in the mock council sessions. Also pictured are Councillor John McDowall, right, Councillor Margaret Toner, far right and Wynne Carlaw, South Ayrshire Council’s Democratic Governance Manager.]
The pupils debated four motions in accordance with South Ayrshire Council’s standing orders and a lively debate was enjoyed as amendments were tabled and discussed in front of an audience of other local councillors and teachers.
The motions tabled all related to the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child and were:
• Young People in Scotland have the right to lead an active and healthy life
• Young people in Scotland should have the right to unrestricted internet access for educational purposes
• Young people in Scotland should not be recruited by the Armed Forces until they reach the age of 18 years
• Young people in Scotland should have the right to vote at 16 years.
Hosting the event, Provost Helen Moonie said: “Getting young people to assume the role of councillors and present, debate and discuss motions in a live chamber setting is a fantastic way of introducing them to the excitement of politics, as well as sharpening their debating skills.
“I was amazed by how passionately and articulately the young people took to their task and learned a great deal about some of their own views in the process.
“Young people represent the future of our local area and their tastes, interests and ideas will have a significant influence for the next generation and beyond.”
Daisy Bradshaw from Girvan Academy who presented the motion ‘Young people in Scotland should have the right to unrestricted internet access for educational purposes’ added: “I really enjoyed being in County Hall in front of other real councillors and the process of doing business was intriguing.”
Keir Anderson of Kyle Academy presented the motion that ‘Young people in Scotland should not be recruited by the Armed Forces until they reach the age of 18’ agreed adding: “This was an excellent experience and actually debating live in a real council chamber, with Provost Moonie overseeing us was brilliant! I’d love to do it again and certainly won’t rule out a career in politics!”
Provost Moonie concluded the day with a vote of thanks to all participants and added: “This has been a superb event and I’ve really been impressed with the quality of debate.
“The motions were challenging and well argued, and the amendments were equally well presented.
“I hope this exercise has given our young people a better insight on how to present their views and ideas and how local democracy might work for them.
“And who knows - maybe in the near future we might be welcoming some of them back as democratically elected representatives for their own electoral ward.”
South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.