The Youth Cabinet Representative (YCR), George Wright, stated that with October being democracy month, it was also the end of the ‘Make Your Mark’ consultation which was the national drive of the British Youth Parliament. It was a chance for 11 – 19 year olds to vote on issues that were important to them from a list of ten issues selected by them at a youth conference over the summer. This year had seen the best turnout for Thurrock yet with over 7,500 turnout to vote which was about 50% of the young people in the borough and a 100% increase from the previous year. The Youth Cabinet were in the process of counting up the most voted on topic for the year which would most likely be the Curriculum for Life or the funding for children’s services based on previous years.
The results of the consultation would shape what the Youth Cabinet would be promoting over the coming months. The Curriculum for Life pledge had been stepped up which aimed to promote issues schools did not teach such as finance, sex and relationships. It would also help to shape the Youth Conference that was coming up on 8 December 2017 (to be confirmed) which the Youth Cabinet extended an invitation to all Members in which he hoped to see many of them attending. Schools and colleges would also be invited where students would attend workshops surrounding issues such as drugs, gang crime, Curriculum for Life and the number one issue in Thurrock once that had been confirmed through the consultation. There would be guest speakers which the Youth Cabinet were in the process of planning.
The Youth Cabinet was currently underrepresented in schools as they had lost some representatives from schools over the summer. To show more representation, they would need to go back into their own schools to acquire representatives.
Councillor Redsell noted that the same issues kept arising such as life skills and money issues. She queried whether schools were taking these issues on board. A lot of schools taught citizenship as a selective subject and the Curriculum for Life had been on the Youth Cabinet’s agenda for the last three years. Schools had signed up to this pledge but it seemed they were not sticking to this pledge so the Youth Cabinet would need to go back to find out why. It could be down to resources or lack of interest but students should be learning life skills that were not gained from Google. The Youth Cabinet intended to find out what schools were providing.
Councillor Collins asked what the Curriculum for Life pledge included. This covered a broad range of topics and was not yet defined. It was left to the local Youth Cabinet to define and decide what topics to include e.g. finances, life skills, University applications etc. Some schools offered this to all year groups and some would offer this to targeted year groups. The Youth Cabinet would need to first establish what issues schools were teaching before defining their Curriculum for Life and then the list could be expanded as the young people felt appropriate to.
Councillor Collins also questioned what had been done to incorporate life skills into subjects e.g. teaching life finances in maths. The YCR replied that some schools taught this life skill but it was approached from a Maths approach as opposed to a social approach. He went on to say that it would be wonderful if schools could tie in social skills with standard school subjects.
The PGR asked where the Youth Conference would take place. This would be at the Purfleet Opera House which would be the Youth Cabinet’s fourth year there.
The Chair thanked the Youth Cabinet for their update. She asked who communicated the Youth Conference to the Council and public as the Council had not heard anything. This was usually communicated through invitations to the Mayor, local MPs and certain Directors. For this year, the Youth Cabinet hoped to invite more people from the Council through an open invitation which should get more people and young people involved.