St Barnabas pupils – a credit to their school

As part of last week’s national “Local Democracy Week”, I invited St Barnabas Primary School to visit County Hall.  Twenty four pupils from Years 5 and 6 arrived with Head Teacher Theresa Anderson and four of her colleagues, spending the last fifteen minutes sitting in on the formal meeting of KCC’s Cabinet – listening intently to our debate about the effect on the County of Government’s South East Plan.


This was followed by a visit to our Contact Centre, where the young people tried out the telephone headsets, and learned about the 5,000 to 6,000 calls each and every day which our operators cope with.

Then we adjourned to the County Council chamber, where Mrs Anderson had previously organised her pupils into two teams, each with a proposer and seconder – for a debate about which item the children would most value for their school; either personal lockers for Year 6, or new adjustable chairs for the IT room.  In a spiritied debate on camera (which I chaired with trepidation!), every child had their say until I called for a vote.  Using the electronic voting system, my guests voted for new chairs for the IT suite, and I agreed to fund these from my KCC Local Member Grant.

By now the young people had worked hard and were hungry, so we finished the visit with lunch on the Members’ Balcony, where sandwiches, fruit and juice was devoured in double quick time!

Boarding their coach outside, the teachers asked whether we would be prepared to host a similar visit for parents to explain the role of democracy in local services.  This is a great idea and one which KCC will certainly follow up.  I can’t wait for my next visit from St Barnabas Primary – the young people were a credit to their school.


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