CHILDREN enjoyed a taste of democracy – by holding a debate in the Kirklees Council chamber.
The 32 pupils from Lindley Junior School discussed the merits and disadvantages of wearing school uniforms, at Huddersfield Town Hall yesterday.
The debate was organised by Lindley ward councillor Christine Stanfield and the school as a way to teach the youngsters about democracy.
Clr Stanfield demonstrated to the children how debates are conducted in the chamber and she showed the youngsters how to use the room’s public address system.
The pupils, aged seven to 11, joined Clr Stanfield and teacher Amy King, in the debate, chaired by year 6 pupil Hannah Swallow, who adopted the role of the Mayor of Kirklees.
Each pupil represented his/her class as an elected member of the school’s student council.
Ms King said: “We do a lot of work in school about democracy. Today gave the children a real hands-on feel for how local politics works.
“The children are elected by their classmates and they do quite a lot of debating at school, so they have plenty of experience of it.”
Clr Stanfield added: “I thought just looking at the council chamber was quite boring so I thought it would be interesting for the children to sit in the council seats and press all the buttons and see themselves on the screens.
“We’re trying to keep alive the interest in elections and being part of a community. In 20 years time some of those kids might be doing it for real as councillors.”
Leading the debates were Sam Lamba, 11, and Elliott Lawley, nine, both from Lindley.
Sam said: “I’ve had a good time. It’s a good experience and you get to learn how the council works.
“I liked pressing the buttons and seeing myself on the camera.”
Elliott said: “I enjoyed having to speak into the microphone and seeing what it’s like to be on a real council.
“Maybe I’d be a councillor, maybe not. If I can’t be a footballer I think I might be one.”