GALLERY: Neale-Wade, Thomas Clarkson and Wisbech Grammar School students debate important issues at Democracy Day
- Credit: Archant
More than 50 students came together with representatives from Fenland District Council and the Youth District Council to discuss the issues which matter to them.
Year 10 students from Neale-Wade Academy, Thomas Clarkson Academy and Wisbech Grammar School were taking part in a Democracy Day at the Boathouse in Wisbech.
During the day, the students debated whether a dispersal order should be granted to prevent a big group of teenagers gathering regularly outside a convenience store.
The shopkeeper says they are damaging his trade and local residents are complaining about noise and intimidation. But the young people and their parents say they are doing nothing wrong and have nowhere else to go.
They were asked to act as the councillors who had to rule on the police’s request – and they certainly didn’t pull any punches as they grilled witnesses from all sides, played by members of a visiting drama group.
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The shopkeeper, a youth worker, one of the parents and an elderly resident were all subjected to lengthy cross-examination.
The arguments swung this way and that but eventually the young “councillors” voted to refuse the dispersal order.
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Students also joined in a “political speed dating” session with police, FDC councillors and council officers, YDC members and Nicola Fenton, outreach worker for Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
It aimed to make them more aware of their role as citizens and how as individuals they can influence decisions in Fenland.
Neale-Wade teacher Janice Holdich said: “The students showed impressive confidence and social and political awareness. They came up with some great ideas and contributions.”
Claire Bennett, YDC chairman, said: “Democracy Day is a fantastic opportunity for us all to understand democracy in a fun and interactive way. It was a really useful day and the YDC was very happy to be part of it.”