Democracy Award

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Democracy Award

12 April 2016

Walthamstow Hall's positive culture of citizenship and democracy has been recognised with a Discovering Democracy Award presented to students and teachers at the Houses of Parliament.

The event, hosted by the Cabinet Office and British Youth Council celebrated the contribution made by schools to promote democratic participation amongst its students. Walthamstow Hall was one of only 60 schools across the country that have been awarded the ‘Discovering Democracy Award’. Teachers and students, were invited to the heart of UK democracy, to receive their award. The event was hosted by Minister for Constitutional Reform John Penrose MP.

The Discovering Democracy Award is an award for secondary schools and colleges that create a positive culture of citizenship and democracy, and help develop youth participation in society. The Award celebrates and shares the success of schools that go further in equipping their students with the skills and knowledge to play a full and active part in society, through high quality teaching, student voice and social action projects.

The Minister spoke to individual students to hear directly from them about the democratic engagement activity which led to their schools being recognised by this award. Walthamstow Hall Head Girl, Anna Pitts-Tucker, told the Minister about the great work to encourage democratic participation by taking part in the Make your mark Youth Referendum and the Kent County Council Youth Elections. The Minister then hosted a lively debate asking teachers and students for their views on how to engage more young people in democracy. The discussion ranged from the role of politicians, to the best age to engage people in democracy and how schools are already promoting participation. Speaking at the event the Minister said: “I would like to congratulate the schools and colleges that have achieved the Discovering Democracy Award. Youth voice is essential to an inclusive and vibrant democracy’’. “That is why it is great for me to hear about inspiring work by students across the country to engage their peers and promote voter registration. This lays the foundations for a lifetime of participation within our democratic system.”

The Awards ceremony was chaired by Jon Foster, Chair of the British Youth Council. He reiterated the importance of young people having a voice and commended the excellent work many schools are doing to promote democracy. “It was absolutely fantastic to meet some of the UK’s most democratic schools at Parliament for the Discovering Democracy Awards Reception,” said Jon. He continued: “All the schools in attendance were very deserving of their awards and should serve as beacons for other schools looking to get young people involved in local democracy. It’s essential young people are involved at a young age so their voices can be heard at every level. All award winners should be really proud!” The successful schools will be named in a British Youth Council national register of good practice which will be shared with the Electoral Commission and Ofsted.