A cross-trust pupil forum at Inspiring Futures through Learning (IFtL) is tackling sustainability head on as UK Parliament Week, a national programme of events and activities that connects young people with democracy, reaches its conclusion this weekend.
Children representing 15 schools, who have been newly-elected on to IFtL’s Youth Parliament, have been discussing household recycling bin systems in Milton Keynes and Corby and their potential to influence behaviour changes in school.
At an initial meeting with IFtL CEO Sarah Bennett last month, Youth Parliament representatives agreed they would like to improve the way in which they can recycle in school.
Children then wrote to their local council leaders to request their support in helping to change the way they recycle, proposing that each school should have separate recycling bins to sort all waste on site, removing the need for workers to have to source recyclable materials by hand.
Youngsters also shared their views on what it means to be part of the IFtL Youth Parliament.
The IFtL Youth Parliament is led by two Co-Presidents from Glebe Farm School, who are in Year 7 and were part of the inaugural cross-trust forum in the 2022-23 academic year. Each Milton Keynes and Corby primary school has representation from two Year 6 pupils, who have been elected by their peers for 2023-24. Infant schools are represented by Year 2 children.
Simran, a Year 6 Youth Parliament representative at Fairfields Primary School, said: “I would like to see the bin system we have at home being implemented at school as well, so we encourage people to recycle.”
Fellow Fairfields pupil Harvey explained: “Young people should have a voice because they are the future. They can choose what the school should do, what would be better for children, and how the children would like their school to be.”
Rickley Park Primary School Youth Parliament representative Alice added: “We need to speak now to make an impact on the future.”
The Youth Parliament is designed to empower pupil voice to support and inform IFtL’s organisational decision-making by providing leadership and action opportunities for our children on issues that are important to them.
“We thoroughly enjoyed our first meeting with this year’s Youth Parliament members, which was held at St Mary and St Giles Church of England School, and children from different schools across our family of schools had the opportunity to meet each other,” said IFtL CEO Sarah Bennett. “We discussed democracy and, as a starting point within an overall remit to improve sustainability and eco-matters, the Youth Parliament voted to change the way we recycle in schools. Pupils were clearly inspired for this change and agreed we need to look after our planet for future generations. We used UK Parliament Week as an opportunity to build momentum for the work of our Youth Parliament, and call for change.”
Children from the following schools are involved in the IFtL Youth Parliament:
- Ashbrook School
- Chestnuts Primary School
- Exeter School
- Fairfields Primary School
- Glebe Farm School
- Heronshaw School
- Holmwood School
- Olney Infant Academy
- Olney Middle School
- Priors Hall
- Rickley Park Primary School
- St Mary and St Giles Church of England School
- Two Mile Ash School
- Whitehouse Primary School
- Woodnewton School