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Friday, October 24, 2014

Children enjoy mock debates in Local Democracy Week

Local school children enjoyed taking part in mock meetings of the Council to learn more about how West Lancashire Borough Council operates.

The events were planned as part of annual Local Democracy Week, which aims to raise young people’s awareness of local government and the important role played by Councils.

This year’s main theme was 'participatory, democracy, sharing, proposing, deciding.’

The Mayor of West Lancashire, Councillor Mrs Doreen Stephenson, welcomed groups of young people into the Council Chamber and the pupils participated in a mock voting exercise. Members of the Council were also in attendance.

Pupils from Ormskirk Church of England Primary School came in the morning and children from Lathom High School attended in the afternoon.

The pupils discussed the issue of dog fouling in the borough at the meetings.

The schools appointed a ‘chief officer’ to help run the mock meetings alongside the Mayor, who was assisted by Councillor Ruth Melling. Year 6 pupil Rhys Thompson took on the ‘chief officer’ role for Ormskirk Church of England Primary School, and Jules Gormley took this post for Lathom High School.

The remaining pupils from both schools acted as “councillors” to give the children a taste of the debating and decision-making process in the Council Chamber.

After discussing the topic the children undertook a mock voting exercise on the question: “West Lancashire Borough Council takes dog fouling very seriously – Should dogs be banned from children’s playing fields in West Lancashire?”

The Mayor said: “Holding a mock Council meeting gave the children a great opportunity to learn about local government and gain an understanding of the way councils work.

"We made the mock ‘meeting’ as realistic as possible. I hope this really sparks an interest for the pupils and encourages them to take an interest in their local Council and the decision-making process."

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