Democracy Friendly Schools

Democracy Friendly Schools

Info for high schools (ages 11 to 16)

We’re looking for schools in Kirklees who want to be Democracy Friendly. We’ve been working hard to develop a flexible approach to our Democracy Friendly programme. We hope this will make it easier for schools to get involved now that our full programme is under way.

How we’ll help you to be Democracy Friendly

Participating schools will receive support and training to help you introduce young people in your school to local democracy. This can include our “train the trainer” session, giving you the information and confidence to deliver local democracy training in school. We can also provide two days of direct training for young people in your school – we’ll work with you to decide which option suits you best right now. Pupils who complete our training will become Kirklees Youth Councillors.

We’ll provide a menu of activities that you can choose from to use in your school and a flexible approach to recruiting young participants, to suit any school. Our pilot has helped us to discover how we can best make our programme work for schools. We know your time and resources are precious, so we’ll also provide resources and support to help get you started.

What you can expect from us

  • Training – a one day training session where we’ll support one or more members of your school staff, giving you the knowledge and confidence to help pupils learn about local democracy. Or two days of local democracy training for young people, delivered by us, which can be observed by school staff, with learning that can be shared peer-to-peer.
  • Resource pack – we’ll give you resources to help you deliver training for young people in school, over two days of your choice.
  • Menu of activity options – you can choose from a selection of participatory activities to deliver at your own pace. The options will include sessions in school, meeting your local councillors, meeting with young people from other participating schools, and projects in your community.
  • Kirklees Youth Council membership – youth councillors from different schools will have opportunities to meet, share ideas and work on projects, and have a stronger voice.
  • Ongoing support – you’ll be joining our network and we’re here to offer guidance and to connect you with others who can help.
  • Promotion – we’ll work with  you to share positive stories.
  • Award – You’ll be awarded Democracy Friendly School status on completing the programme.

What we expect from your school

  • An ongoing commitment – a Democracy Friendly School will support our young citizens to learn about (and participate in) local democracy, each year.
  • A main contact – please identify a member of your staff who will participate in the training, take responsibility for co-ordinating activities in school and keep in touch.
  • Gain consent – we’ll ask you to gain parental consent to support our storytelling activities – for example, consent for taking photographs and making video clips with some of your young participants.
  • Leadership support – please confirm that your senior leadership team supports your expression of interest.
  • Invite councillors in – we’d like you to invite local councillors into your school as part of your activities (we’ll help with this).
  • Share feedback – we’ll ask you to tell us about your experience, and be part of photos and videos

The benefits of taking part

The Democracy Friendly Schools programme is based on what we learned from over 1,700 children and young people in Kirklees, as part of our Growing a stronger youth council project. Participants said that Kirklees Youth Council should help young people to have voice and be a safe space where young people can speak up about what matters to them. The place where young people said they would feel safest taking part is at school.

Benefits for individuals and for schools include:

  • Learning about, and being part of, local democracy.
  • Confidence building.
  • Life skills.
  • Employability skills.
  • Contributes to British Values learning.
  • Helps to grow relationships with local councillors.
  • Prepares young people for participating in NCS.
  • Participants can make connections with voluntary organisations.
former youth councillors

Young people who have already taken part in our training said:

“The most important thing I’ve learned is what democracy is and why it matters.”

“The difference the youth council has made for me is building confidence in what you’re talking about. Those first two days made us so informed that we had the confidence to speak.”

“The initial induction training was really good and we did learn a lot about democracy.”

“I wasn’t interested about democracy before because I didn’t know about it, but I am now.”

“If it wasn’t for the youth council, what would you know about democracy? We’d know nothing about local democracy.”

“I feel like an active citizen.”

Timeline for the activities

From 2020 to 2021 we worked with two pilot schools – one in North Kirklees and one in South Kirklees – that have a good mix of experiences and participants. We’ve also been working with others to find out how our training can best be used in different settings. Based on this learning, we’re now working with all the schools who have expressed an interest and who are ready to get going. Not signed up yet? You can join the programme at any time.

How to get involved

If you’re interested in taking part, please fill in our expression of interest form now:

Expression of Interest – Democracy Friendly Schools

If you have any questions, or if you’d like to find out more, please have a look at our latest blogs or get in touch.

Contact Kirklees Youth Council

Latest blogs about Democracy Friendly Schools

We are Democracy Friendly