Assembly committee calls for rolling out of political education in all schools

An Assembly committee has today called on the Welsh Government to roll out education on politics and democracy across all schools.

The call comes ahead of proposals to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in local government, in addition to the decision to lower the voting age for Senedd elections in 2021.

The National Assembly’s Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee said that without adequate political education and awareness-raising, 16 and 17-year-olds may not use their right to vote.

John Griffiths AM, Chair of the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee, said that the extension of the franchise had to come hand in hand with political education.

“It is critical that this is coupled with proper education on politics and democracy,” he said.

“Young people should know about their right to vote and the importance of exercising it.

““Young people I meet are often enthusiastic and politicised on a range of issues. I’m pleased that a majority of the Committee are in favour of extending the right to vote to 16 and 17-year-olds, it’s exciting that Wales is leading the way in this area.”

 

‘Enthusiastic’

Jess Blair, Director of Electoral Reform Society Cymru, said that extending the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds offered a huge opportunity to create a new generation of informed and engaged young voters.

“This can only be done if we ensure much better levels of political education are delivered across Wales within schools, with additional support for teachers to deliver this,” she said.

“Our work with young people shows they are excited, enthusiastic and more than ready to vote. But that alone is not enough, we need to ensure they are supported with informative resources that can boost their confidence and get them ready to vote with much more knowledge than we ever had as first-time voters.

“We are really pleased to see this being recommended by the Committee and hope the Welsh Government include these measures within the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill.”

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j humphrysRhosdduJohn EllisDavid SmithHuw Davies Recent comment authors
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Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

Perhaps we might achieve more by ensuring a higher standard of literacy and numeracy all round ( i.e lift up those who are left behind in the process) which would enable young people to rationalise ideas and wade through some of the bull***t pushed at them by politicians. Timetables are already stretched to breaking point with lots of “nice to have” stuff whereas a decent grounding in basic scientific concepts plus literacy and numeracy could be a better foundation. Add in languages, history and geography and you are heading for that 40 hour week( classroom time) which fills the profession… Read more »

David Smith
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David Smith

Agree, but revisions to the Welsh Bacc being consulted upon from May 2020 have great potential to address the overload issue which can often be used to support the status quo. A more significant issue could be refreshing teacher training for new and existing staff.

j humphrys
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j humphrys

I would guess the class sizes are fairly big? Where I live, the “suits” are proposing closing small village schools, and bussing . These schools are fairy tale in setting, wooden and often painted cream and blue, kids size and surrounded by forest. Parents oppose, of course, but can eventually be flattened by the officials. Fortunately, the powerful regional press has come out on the parents side. Junior schools are of extreme importance?

John Ellis
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John Ellis

Given that staying on in school until 18 is now the norm, I think it’d be best started when students move to the sixth form level, when they’ve started to specialize on the options which they’ve chosen and the timetable’s presumably then less crowded. Especially now that they’ll be able to vote at 16, because it’ll have particular relevance. It recalls for me an experiment tried during the 1970s in Manchester, where I grew up, a few years after I left school: some then newly created comprehensive schools started teaching what they termed ‘civics’ to older pupils. It didn’t last,… Read more »

j humphrys
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j humphrys

I was a Trotskyist by 18! I remember being disgusted, ‘cos a Maoist I knew joined the Young Conservatives, as “they have a good time and the birds are smarter”. How principled young men are. Weirdly, he remained a Maoist. I suppose I was getting a political education?

David Smith
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David Smith

The point being made about political education equally apply to all ages

Rhosddu
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Rhosddu

Bearing in mind the current lack of a meaningful and informative Welsh media, this proposal seems not only desirable but essential, and could in theory produce a generation of moderately well-informed young Welsh citizens , at least in terms of what the Senedd can and can’t do under the devolution settlement as it stands at present. A no-brainer, in my view.