Pupils from primary schools in Sunderland got the chance to learn about democracy first hand.
Youngsters from several schools in the city went along to spend the morning at Sunderland Civic Centre.
The children were from the Inspire Multi Academy Trust’s school councils, including Farringdon Academy, Fatfield Academy, Plains Farm Academy, New Penshaw Academy and Burnside Academy.
Joanna Forster, assistant head teacher at Farringdon Academy, organised the visit to the council chamber at the civic centre for the young people to hold their School Council Conference.
Ms Forster, said: “This is an exciting time for the trust as we are celebrating two new schools joining us, so this was a great opportunity for the school council representatives to build relationships and secure a network across the five schools.
“Not only did the visit promote British Values, but gave the children insight into voting and politics at a local level. It has also enabled them to understand how important their job, as school councillors, is in ensuring that the children’s voices are heard.
This was a wonderful and exciting opportunity for our childrenJoanna Forster
“Within each of the five schools, the school council is made up of children from Year 1 to Year 6 and in each school they adopt a true democratic process to elect their representatives who will voice the children’s point of view on various school matters.”
On the day of the visit the children were greeted by Councillor Stuart Porthouse and were given a tour around the Mayor’s Parlour.
As the previous Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Porthouse was able to talk to the children about his time in office and tell them more about the history of Sunderland City Council.
Corey Watson, Year 2, from Fatfield Academy, said: “We enjoyed looking at the mayor’s jewellery. It was cool.”
The children were then taken to the council chambers where they were given permission to use facilities to hold their conference, presenting their action plans for the year ahead and sharing and debating ideas in a similar manner to how the official local council representatives do.
Mason Agar, Year 6, from Farringdon Academy, said: “I was nervous to speak at first but my confidence grew over the morning.”
Ms Forster said: “This was a wonderful and exciting opportunity for our children to visit a real government building and to conduct their own conference in this environment.
“We are very proud of those who took part and are looking forward to the children developing their own working parties across the trust to achieve their future goals and projects to continue improving their schools.”