School aged young people aged between 11-18 years have recently been taking part in the ‘Make your Mark’ campaign. This campaign is about raising issues that are important to young people. In Cornwall, the campaign is run by our MYP’s, helped by the 11+ service at Cornwall Council.
This year the MYP’s have excelled at the campaign with a record number of votes – 7829 – being cast.
The top eight issues the young people voted on are diverse, and show the maturity of our young people. These are:
- Living wage; everyone should be able to live comfortably. Everyone aged 16 or over should be paid at least the Living Wage of £7.85 per hour (£9.15 in London). – 1761 votes
- A curriculum to prepare us for life; Schools should cover topics including finance, sex and relationships and politics in the curriculum. – 1208
- Mental health; services should be improved with young people’s help and mental health education should be compulsory and challenge stereotypes.– 754 votes
- The end of austerity and child poverty; young people want to see investment in their lives and the lives of others in order to end poverty. – 671 votes
- Transport; make public transport cheaper, better and accessible for all – 653 votes
- Climate change Government should keep its promise to work globally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to limit the increase in global temperature to 2 °C, and raise awareness locally.– 646 votes
- Tackling racism and religious discrimination, particularly against people who are Muslim or Jewish. All young people should work together to combat racism and other forms of discrimination, and ensure we know the dangers of such hatred. – 607 votes
- Fund our youth services; don’t cut them. Youth services provide us with vital support, development opportunities and positive activities – 580
- Votes at 16 Give 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote in all public elections and referendums including the upcoming EU Referendum – 478 votes
- Extended special needs support; There should be more, not less, help for young people with special educational needs, including those with learning difficulties and dyslexia – 471 votes
From these ten, the top three will go forward and collated with other areas MYP’s choices. Then, when the MYP have their take over day in Parliament, the top three nationally will be debated in the Commons Chamber. The MYP’s are the only group others than the MP’s themselves who are allowed to sit on the Green benches in the House of Commons.
I firmly believe the voice of the 11-18 year old (and younger) is important, yet with no statutory voting for those under 18, young people feel frustrated their views are not fully heard. This is why Make your Mark is essential, as it gives a powerful voice to the issues and concerns that are important to young people. I am fully supportive of this campaign and the role of the MYP’s in speaking up for the young people of Cornwall.
Well done MYP’s. And well done to the staff in the 11+ team who has supported them.