- 978,216 young people vote to prioritise UK Youth Parliament debates with education, racism and religious discrimination, public transport, votes at 16, and the health service in the top five.
- Members of Youth Parliament to take over Parliament on 11th November 2016.
Young people have prioritised a curriculum for life as a top priority in a ballot of 978,216 young people, aged 11-18, from across the country, on what should be debated by the UK Youth Parliament in the House of Commons on 11th November 2016. The annual Make Your Mark ballot, was championed by Members of Youth Parliament, volunteers across the country, local authorities and schools and prioritised five topics to be debated in the House of Commons.
The winning topic is a ‘curriculum for life’ which calls on schools to cover subjects such as finance, sex and relationship education and politics, to better prepare young people for life after school. Young people have been passionate about creating a curriculum for life for a number of years. It’s evident that young people want citizenship education and PSHE’s place in the curriculum to be prioritised. Both are important for young people’s growth and development as they teach vital life skills and can be the first steps to engaging young people in political life.
This was followed in the poll by ‘tackling racism and religious discrimination’, ‘transport’, ‘lowering the voting age to 16’, and ‘stopping cuts that affect the NHS.
Last year racism and religious discrimination, (particularly against people who are Muslim or Jewish), was one of the top issues and was subsequently voted to be the UK Youth Parliament national campaign for 2016 – ‘Don’t Hate, Educate!’
Local turnouts for Make Your Mark have been significant. Redbridge has climbed to the top in 2016 with a turnout of 75%, followed by Slough (67%) and Walsall with 66%. This year Connor Hill, Member of Youth Parliament for Dudley, returned the most ballots collecting 8,732, with Caitlin Cavanagh, Member of Youth Parliament for Liverpool returning 7,222, and Samantha-Rose Beacham, Member of Youth Parliament for Derbyshire collecting 6,563.
UK Youth Parliament House of Commons Sitting
Once again the UK Youth Parliament’s House of Commons Sitting on Friday 11th November 2016 will be chaired by Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons who has chaired every debate in the House of Commons since their first sitting in 2009, as the only group other than MPs able to debate on the famous green benches. Up to 300 elected young representatives from all parts of the UK will take over the House of Commons, marking Armistice Day with a two-minute silence, before debating the five campaigns, and voting to choose their priorities for 2017. Finally, they will hear the Government’s initial response from the Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson MP. This year there will be an additional debate on “a better democracy” where “more unites than divides us”.
Connor Hill, Member of Youth Parliament for Dudley, who collected the most ballots said: “Make Your Mark simply proves that young people do want to engage with the political system and have their say on a nation scale. The amount of ballots collected is just something that never fails to amaze me and to have collected 978,216 ballots just makes me even more shocked! From this consultation, we can show that we are democratically campaigning for young people across the nation so that THEIR voices are heard effectively. The best part about such an astonishing figure is that it is all collected by the most inspiring volunteers who never cease to amaze me, and on behalf of everyone, we thank you for Making Your Mark. Thank you for empowering a generation.”
Anna Barker, Chair, British Youth Council said: “Young people have been calling for a curriculum for life for a number of years, and it’s now important politicians sit up and listen to our concerns! Thousands of young people have made it clear what they are passionate about and politicians around the country must ensure their views are heard and acted upon. Once again, young people have demonstrated that if you give them an authentic platform to have their say, they will take part in high numbers!”
Rob Wilson MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Civil Society, with responsibility for youth policy said: “Congratulations to the 978,216 young people who voted in this year’s Make Your Mark Ballot, and to all the volunteers who have worked so hard to get such a great turnout. It’s really important that young people engage in issues that are important to them and I’m really pleased that so many have chosen to do so through this year’s ballot.”
For media enquiries or to interview a Member(s) of Youth Parliament please contact:
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Notes to Editors
- UK Youth Parliament provides opportunities for 11-18 year olds to use their elected voice to bring about social change through meaningful representation and campaigning.
- UK Youth Parliament is hosted and managed by the charity The British Youth Council. The British Youth Councilis the National Youth Council of the UK. A youth-led charity, we empower young people aged 25 and under to influence and inform the decisions that affect their lives. We support young people to get involved in their communities and democracy locally, nationally and internationally, making a difference as volunteers, campaigners, decision-makers and leaders.
- The Make Your Mark campaign is proudly sponsored by NCS. National Citizen Service (NCS) is a once–in-a-lifetime opportunity open to 16 & 17 year olds across England and Northern Ireland. It is a unique two or three week full-time programme focused around fun and discovery, plus 30 hours committed to a community project that benefits both young people and society. On this government-backed programme, participants build skills for work and life, while taking on new challenges and adventures, making new friends, and contributing to their community.
- The Make Your Mark took place from Friday 12th August and Wednesday 5th October 2016. Young people were able to take part in online and via various printed ballots.
- Download a full breakdown of the Make Your Mark ballot, by region/ nation and local authority.
Please note: Whilst every effort is made to verify the accuracy of voting returns at the time of going to print, there are some late returns, spoilt ballots and unallocated votes that have not been recorded in this first edition of the report. So the final total is subject to change (increase) and an update circulated later in the year.
- The Make Your Mark results report is proudly sponsored 1st IT. 1st IT offer flexible IT support and consultancy across a number of areas including, IT infrastructure set-up and maintenance, Microsoft Office 365, Googles Apps for Business, Hosted desktop, helpdesk support, hardware and software(free in most cases for registered charities) procurement, security, backup and disaster recovery. 1st IT is a specialist supplier of IT Services to the Education and Charity sector.
- The following issues appeared on the ballot:
- Votes at 16
- A curriculum to prepare us for life.
- First Aid Education for all young people.
- Mental health.
- Stop cuts that affect the NHS
- Body image.
- Fund out youth services, don’t cut them.
- Raising awareness of sexual harassment in schools.
- Tackling racism and religious discrimination, particularly against people who are Muslim or Jewish.