SHOULD 16-year-olds be allowed to vote?
It’s something the pupils of Rastrick High School have been finding out and their views can now be viewed internationally on the BBC website.
Year 9 pupils questioned Rastrick Sixth Form students and interviewed local politicians to gather views on voter apathy.
They then wrote stories for the BBC School Report website which can now be viewed by the whole community.
Lucy Crabtree, 14, of Brighouse, said: “All week we’ve been ringing round the politicians and trying to get interviews with them to be able to talk to them about whether young people aged 16 should be allowed to vote.
“It’s been a really interesting week – some were understanding when we said we’d like the voting age lowered.
“It’s confusing because at what age do we become adults?
“For some things it’s 16 but for others it’s 18.
“I think that if every school taught politics they could fix the age at 16 because everyone would have a better understanding.
“It’s exciting to see our hard work appear on the BBC, we’re all really proud of what we’ve done and have put everything into it.”
While Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman proved difficult to track down, the pupils spoke to Calder Valley parliamentary candidate Craig Whittaker, Rastrick ward councillor Paul Rogan, Anne Gomersal of the Youth Parliament and MP Annette Brooke.
They held a Question Time style session to ask questions of the politicians or conducted phone interviews, they then wrote stories for the BBC website.
James Krishnapillai, also 14, of Rastrick, added: “I think young people could always get more involved in politics – it’s important but it’s not X-box world to many young people so they don’t get involved.
“This is our chance to show the community round the school what we are doing, what we think and that we do want to get involved.
“We asked the politicians about their jobs but also told them what we thought and that we do want to interact with them more and have a better partnership so they can understand our views too.”
Paul Rowe, assistant subject leader for English, said it was a unique experience for the pupils.
“We can teach them so much in the classroom but for them to see their work on the BBC website will give them a much better understanding of the media.
“They’ve been focussing on voter apathy – they’re the next generation of voters so they’ve been asking ‘what can you do for us’.
“From an English perspective, it’s great to give them a real-life focus for what we’ve been doing in class. It is important that they get to see an end product of their work.
“Plus it helps us to bring the whole community into the school”.