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Learning about democracy

Thursday 19 January was a big day for democracy as Yester Primary School pupils took to the polling station to vote for the party they want to the take forward school improvements.

The school’s sports hall was transformed into a polling station

The election was part of Primary 7’s ‘Democracy and Discrimination’ interdisciplinary learning topic, which has seen the children focus on the UNCRC, Children’s Parliament, Parliament and government in Scotland and the UK, prejudice and discrimination now and in a past historical setting – WW2 and the Holocaust. Yester has been one of four schools in East Lothian to take part in a project with the Children’s Parliament, investigated children’s rights and developing ideas to share children’s views and opinions across East Lothian.

Primary 7 pupils explored the features of a democracy and investigated how parliament and government works, reading the main political parties’ manifestos, before creating their own political parties, manifestos and campaign materials which were presented to all classes as electioneering got underway. Ideas included a tuck shop, reduction in single use plastics and food waste, charitable activities, the introduction of clubs to encourage socialising and skills development, and library and play equipment. 

Children across the school attended a polling station in the school’s sports hall to vote for one of five political parties: Breaktime Buddies, Inclusioknights, Successful Plants, Yester’s Eco Fun and Yester’s Future. Breaktime Buddies was duly elected having gathered 35% of the whole school vote. They will now oversee their ideas being used for school improvement: a Friday tuck shop with healthy snacks, slide and basketball net for the playground and opening clubs so children can socialise.

Duly elected: Noah, Fred, Katie and Cameron of ‘Breaktime Buddies’

Primary 7 class teacher Mrs Hamilton said: “The children were self-motivated, enthusiastic and resilient.  They developed group skills and worked together to share their plans for the school.  I was impressed by the thoughtful and ambitious plans they came up with to make our school a better place for all our young people.”

East Lothian Council’s Depute Leader, Councillor Shamin Akhtar, shared a special message with the children congratulating them on their commitment to improving lives through the democratic process. In the video she told them: “Your ideas will now make a difference to everybody in the school and that’s what the democratic process is all about: how do we make a difference to the quality of people’s lives. That’s exactly what you’ve done at Yester Primary School.”

East Lothian Council Depute Leader Cllr Shamin Akhtar sent a special message to P7 pupils on completion of the election.

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Get into Summer!

Sports, play and free swims… it’s officially time to ‘Get into Summer’ in East Lothian!

There are lots of projects running throughout the holiday period giving children and young people the chance to be active, connect with others and enjoy the best that East Lothian has to offer.

Over £300,000 has been provided to organisations to develop activities that would provide fun opportunities especially to those most adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Some activities will be available to all families across the county while others may only be available to priority families – those in receipt of Free School Meals, children with disabilities or Additional Special Needs, care experienced children and young people or young carers.

Examples include football and rugby activities, pop-up play events, lunch projects and free swimming.

Find out more about the activities on offer (including booking information where appropriate) at: www.eastlothian.gov.uk/get-into-summer