Saturday, November 16, 2013

These days Newsround rarely reports on proceedings of the UK Youth Parliament, which meets once a year in the House of Commons to decide on campaign issues. Quite why Newsround steers clear of reporting news of the Youth Parliament is open to speculation, but a possible reason is that debates could touch upon what the BBC children's department regards as "grown up" issues.

The topics discussed at yesterday's session of the UKYP were

Better work experience and careers advice
Combating youth unemployment
Curriculum to prepare us for life*
Votes for 16 & 17 year olds in all public elections**
Zero tolerance to bullying in schools

MYPs then voted on which topic should be the UKYP national campaign** and their campaign for England.*

The UKYP campaign choice does not necessarily reflect the priorities of young people in the UK. Last year, for example, marriage equality received the second highest vote of young people (29,792 votes) in the Make Your Mark ballot, but MYPs chose instead to campaign on "a curriculum to prepare us for life," which had received far fewer votes in the national ballot.

Georgia Bell speaking in the House of Commons (15th Nov 2013)

Georgia Bell (Kingston): I believe tackling bullying starts earlier than a written consultation. It begins with reforming the attitudes of the bullies and the teachers who witness this behaviour. In particular homophobic bullying. Homophobia is ignored through the casual use of "That's gay!" Homophobia is built through the lack of LGBT education in schools. Homophobia is manifested through the teacher's silence - and we need to face this now. How many teenagers will have to kill themselves before we realise that we need change?

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