Partnering with the Cabinet Office and the Department for Education, the British Youth Council celebrates ‘International Democracy Day – 15th Sept’ with the launch of its “Discovering Democracy Award” in Whitehall.
The award will recognise those schools who encourage pupils to take an interest in the democratic process – both within the school or through social action project in the local community.
Secondary schools and colleges are being encouraged to apply for the Award which has been created to support the need to develop character as well as a strong grounding in core academic subjects. Award winners will be given certificates and named in a national register of good practice which will be shared with the Electoral Commission and Ofsted.
The Award will encourage schools to engage young people, particularly those aged 16+, with democracy from an early age, whether that is voting for their representatives on a school council or getting involved in social action campaigns. All awards will be judged by a panel of young people and will celebrate and share the success of schools and colleges that go further in equipping their students with the skills and knowledge to use their voice in our society.
Jon Foster, Chair of the British Youth Council said: “The British Youth Council welcome this partnership with the Cabinet Office to promote and recognise the role of schools in supporting grassroots democracy. These principles are the foundation of our communities, society and Government and where better to nurture them than through education. We have a great network of schools working in support of the UK Youth Parliament who we hope will take part in the Discovering Democracy Awards.”
John Penrose, Minister for Constitutional Reform, said: “I am delighted to launch this important new award. In the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta we can all be proud of Britain’s role in laying the foundations of modern democracy.”
Edward Timpson, Children and Families Minister, said: “I welcome this Discovering Democracy Award that is owned and judged by young people themselves. It is vital that all school pupils develop character and understanding and engaging in the democratic process is a key part of this. We want young people to leave school with not just a strong academic grounding, but a wider understanding of fundamental British values so they are fully prepared to succeed in adult life.”
To help schools and colleges, the Cabinet Office, in partnership with other organisations, has developed a collection of interactive learning resources for schools to use. Resources such as Rock Enrol!® help provide a greater understanding of democracy and the voting system. The activities cover everything from the history of democracy to the practicalities of registering to vote. They include a number of interactive approaches for getting people engaged in democracy, such as one to one support, peer to peer training, quizzes, workshops and leaflets.