I was delighted to be given the opportunity to talk to the S3 Modern Studies class at Stewarton Academy recently on my role as an MP. The students had prepared a number of questions which related to their coursework and I was impressed with the range of questions that were asked. I was keen to make it clear that although I gave my personal view on the topics they had chosen that I was willing to hear their views as well. It is always important to show that different points of view can be informed, considered and equally as valid and that debating them can add to the understanding of complex issues.
My visit was after the Modern Studies department had held a workshop and a mock election for S4 – S6 pupils, this was to inform those students eligible to vote on the process and what to expect from the Scottish Holyrood election.
I learned that the students were organised into groups and attended a workshop to discuss what qualities and skills their perfect representative would have, what their local policies would be for the local area and their priorities given a budget of £250,000. Each group were given an opportunity to present a ‘party political broadcast’ to the other groups and then vote for the candidate or Party they wanted to represent the Stewarton Academy constituency.
I was impressed that to highlight the importance of registering the process included checking that pupils were registered and if not they were prevented from voting.