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 are working with two pilot schools, who will be the first to try out our Democracy Friendly Schools programme, in Autumn 2020. We then hope to open the programme to all schools from early 2021.

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 will include a “train the trainer” session, giving you the information and confidence to deliver local democracy training in school. Pupils who complete the 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. The pilot will help us to discover how we can best make our programme work for you. We know your time and resources are precious, so we’ll also be offering resources and support to help get you started.

What you can expect from us

  • Train the trainer – a one day training session where we’ll support a member of your school staff, giving you the knowledge and confidence to help pupils learn about local democracy.
  • Resource pack – we’ll give you resources to help you deliver the 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. (This is essential for the pilot schools).
  • 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 (This is essential for the pilot schools).

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 previously taken part in our training said:

“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.”

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

Timeline for the activities

We’re trying out the programme with two pilot schools in Autumn 2020 (delayed from Spring 2020, due to how Covid-19 has affected our schools). Then others can join in, early in 2021. We have two pilot schools – one in North Kirklees and one in South Kirklees – that have a good mix of experiences and participants. These are schools that have not previously participated in Kirklees Youth Council, so that we can find out whether the programme will work for other new schools. The pilot phase will include a one day “Train the trainer” session, and two days back in school where participants will deliver the local democracy training to young people.

How to get involved

If you’re interested in taking part when our full programme begins in early 2021, please fill in our expression of interest form now.

Expression of Interest – Democracy Friendly Schools

In the meantime, can your school community help to try out some creative activities to explore everyday democracy? We’ve been inspired by all the creative things young people have been doing during lockdown…

Everyday democracy – activities for 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:

Latest blogs about Democracy Friendly Schools

Contact Kirklees Youth Council

Kirklees Youth Council

We are Democracy Friendly