A primary school in Soham got to experience local democracy in action at East Cambridgeshire District Council’s offices yesterday.
Students from the Shade Primary School were invited by their local district and county councillor, Mark Goldsack, to attend a presentation and mock council meeting within the council chamber.
The chamber was set up in a horseshoe formation to replicate a usual council meeting. Each of the students also had name badges with ‘councillor’ as well as microphones.
The structure of the two-hour visit comprised of a short ten-minute presentation with information on the workings of the combined authority, county, district and parish councils.
This was followed by councillors from the different tiers of local government within East Cambridgeshire, including the Vice-Chairman of the district council, Councillor Lis Every, and the Mayor of Ely, Councillor Mike Rouse in his Mayoral regalia, talking to the students about what their roles entail.
The visit finished with a mock council meeting discussing local issues, with the children acting as councillors on full council where they asked questions, discussed, proposed and voted on a preferred option.
Councillor Mark Goldsack said: “It was an excellent afternoon of learning from both sides.”
“It’s been eye-opening to see the views of the students during the mock meeting and it was exciting to see how our future generation responded to being in the meeting and having their views heard.
“I look forward to seeing this progress and I’d love to see other schools take part in local democracy visits.”
Vice-Chairman of the council, Councillor Lis Every, said: “It was fantastic to see the students so engaged in the meeting conversation.
“Visits like this are vital for students who might not fully understand what our councils do and this enables them to see how they can be a part of it when they’re older.”
Jane Segust, headteacher at the Shade Primary School said: “It was a great opportunity for our students to get first-hand experience of what a typical council meeting would entail.
“The students had a fantastic time and we appreciate all the help from the councillors for teaching them all about their roles within the council.”