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.
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.”