An impressive six candidates out of the 20 standing for Suffolk seats on the UK Youth Parliament are from Samuel Ward Academy in Haverhill - proving that a sense of democracy is alive and well among its students.
Voting has been taking place for the elections for the past few weeks and closes tomorrow (March 21), with the winners being announced on Monday (24).
All five candidates standing for the West Suffolk seat are at Samuel Ward; Year eight student Douglas Lawes, Jade Brown from year seven and Irna Manguerra-Bridle, Kate Lawes and Kelleigh Jansen, all year ten.
Year seven student Amie Frere is standing in South Suffolk.
Teacher Jenna Powell, who has helped with the process, said: “We were really pleased about this and are proud of them.
“If elected, they have to commit seven hours per month voluntary work, such as dealing with queries from young people in their area on the internet, and attend one meeting per month in Ipswich with all the Suffolk representatives.
“Then, a few times a year they visit the Houses of Parliament for a proper meeting and debate with all the reps from all over the country.”
The six students got involved after Simon Pickering, from St Edmundsbury Council and Baz Wilkinson, a youth participation development officer from the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, Community Action Suffolk. visited the school to do an assembly to its aspiration and challenge group and its current school ambassadors. Those who opted to get involved then filled in a form to nominate themselves and 11 Samuel Ward students made it through this round.
The next round was to submit a two minute video manifesto or one page of A4 about why people should vote for them and which three things they would change if they were elected.
If they are elected, their term of office is 2 years.
The policies put forward by the candidates covered issues such as bullying, lowering the voting age to 16, providing better career guidance at school, including better life lessons, having a bigger, affordable choice of sports and leisure activities and allowing youths to feel more involved in their community.