Lichfield pupils learn all about democracy at county council event

Pupils from a Lichfield primary school have been deciding how they would spend thousands of pounds of public money.

Cllr Matthew Ellis with pupils from Manor Primary School

Cllr Matthew Ellis with pupils from Manor Primary School

Manor Primary School attended a Local Democracy session in the Staffordshire County Council chamber with their local councillor Matthew Ellis.

Twenty five children decided in groups how they would spend a budget of £100,000 of taxpayers’ money across all public services. Each group then had to explain their decision to classmates. And they had the added pressure of being under the spotlight of a film crew for the county council’s SCCTV section of its website.

The session gave them an insight into how politicians have to make difficult decisions when it comes to setting the annual budget.

Cllr Ellis said the Local Democracy sessions have been designed to bring the citizenship curriculum to life. He explained:

“Our Local Democracy sessions are important as they help young people to understand the values of democracy in a fun and stimulating way. The children who attended the session at County Buildings were excellent and were soon immersed in the task.

“It was great to hear their perspective on how public money should be spent and I was really impressed with what they had to say. They will have come away with a greater understanding of how councillors reach decisions on spending and what a difficult job this is, and how important it is to vote.”

Manor Primary School’s head teacher Richard Lane said:

“It’s been fantastic to take the children out of the classroom to the place where county decisions are made. They really got into their roles as councillors and enjoyed being in the council chamber. The activity also tested them and made them realise the council does not have an endless amount of money and tough decisions are made everyday.

“It was the best school trip we’ve ever been on. I’d really recommend it to other schools as we got a great deal out of it.”

The county council runs Local Democracy sessions across Staffordshire twice a year for children in their final two years of primary school.

You can view Manor Primary School’s Local Democracy session at http://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/news/primaryschoolpupils.htm

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