Bewdley Town Council
Youth Forum to elect the first Young Mayor of Bewdley
Bewdley Town Council
Mr David Hadley-Price, the Headmaster at the Bewdley School and Sixth Form Centre blogs:
"In my first couple of weeks in the school I was approached by the Town Council, with a view to appointing a first Young Mayor of Bewdley. I was absolutely delighted to agree to this as I feel very strongly that a secondary school should be at the heart of its local community.
We took this as an opportunity to review the whole school council system, and a volunteer working group of staff, who I would like to sincerely thank, conceived and planned the new system I shall now explain.
In the past we have had 2 councillors in each tutor group, so 12 in each year. This has meant that we have 60 councillors in years 7 to 11 and no connection to the sixth form council. This has its own structure which has functions independent of the rest of the school.
We have therefore decided to create a new structure, Bewdley Youth Forum, which is independent of the year councils. Each year head will still be free to run their own year council, which will be independent of the Forum, so there will be even more democratic opportunities.
The Youth Forum will comprise of three sub-groups, each called a Congress, and a central decision making body called the Senate. This language has been chosen because of its 'fit’ to the decision making structures. The Lower Congress will have 3 students each from years 7 and 8, the Middle 3 each from years 9 and 10 and the Upper 2 each from years 11, 12 and 13. This first time around the Upper Congress will be 6 year 12 students because of exam pressures.
Each Congress will vote in a Leader and Deputy Leader who will represent them on the senate. In this first cycle the Leader and Deputy of the Upper Congress will be Mayor and Deputy Mayor. In future years the senate will vote their own Mayor and Deputy, which will mean they can be from any year group.
We will be running formal elections over the next 2 to 3 weeks. This will involve formal nomination papers with a proposer and seconder. Candidates will speak to their electorate for a minute or so each during ‘hustings’, explaining why they should be elected. There will be a formal vote with an electoral register, ballot papers and a ballot box. Following the count run by year councillors, a returning officer will announce results during assembly.
This democratically elected body will be run by and for the students. Whilst staff can advise, they will run their own meetings and keep their own records. They will also have a small delegated budget which they must justify the expenditure of. It is anticipated that they will discuss issues such as the schools recycling and 'eco-strategy', planning of social areas during break and lunch, consulting with a group of teachers with regard to a house or college system and any other areas they identify. As is the case with all decisions in the school, these of course have to be approved by senior staff and Governors.
I would like to thank Bewdley Town Council for sparking off this very healthy development in local democracy".
Nick Farress the Town Clerk added "the Town Council are very proud to be working with the School and look forward to seeing Bewdley's Young Mayor in the Council Chamber".
Town Clerk's Office
- 01299 400157
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The Guildhall, Load Street, Bewdley, Worcestershire, DY12 2AH