Aberdeen City Council today (Thursday 12 March) approved a proposal for the formation of a city-wide pupil forum aimed at giving children and young people a voice on the issues important to them and a say on the priorities for the Council’s Education Service.
The innovative proposal will also play an important role in the city’s bid for Unicef Child Friendly City status and comes after a series of initiatives already undertaken by the Council in working towards that goal including a celebration of World Children’s Day in November to mark the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
A significant number of schools across the city have also been awarded – or are working towards – Unicef Rights Respecting Schools status with seven schools in the city having successfully achieved Gold Award status.
The representative pupil-led forum has also been inspired in part by the work of a Senior Pupil Leadership Group at Bridge of Don Academy which discovered inconsistencies in approaches to recycling across the city’s schools. This prompted an approach to Aberdeen City Council Angela Scott who met with the pupils to help identify the resources required to support them in addressing the issue.
The pupils have since been working with Council officers in developing a strategic approach to a forum which is expected to be comprised of secondary age pupils for across each city academy and its associated schools’ group. The group will meet regularly with the Council’s Chief Education Officer to discuss a range of issues which will inform service priorities and influence the recommendations being brought before the Educational Operational Delivery Committee.
The Committee’s Convenor, Councillor John Wheeler, said: “I wholeheartedly support this innovative proposal. We have already made huge strides in giving our children and young people a voice in the issues that affect them, via the Imagineers project, our Champions Board and Pupil Participation Groups.
“The views of young people should inform everything we do as an organisation and the city-wide forum will provide them with a mechanism for doing just that”.