Learning about democratic decision making in Wales
As part of the school’s work on Active citizenship, the PSE coordinator arranged for a National Assembly for Wales Education Officer to visit the school to host a series of workshops with Key Stage 3 learners. Each presentation and workshop activity was tailored to complement the school’s PSE programme. The learning activities undertaken included an interactive presentation about the Assembly followed by a group activity where learners had an opportunity to experience the kind of decisions made by Assembly Members (AMs). A budget sharing activity entailed learners working in mixed ability groups to discuss how to spend a budget of £100,000. Each group was given a set of 30 cards, with each card describing a project that may be of benefit to their local community. The cost of each project was also noted on the cards. In their groups, they discussed and voted on how best to spend the budget to benefit their local community. The projects included on the cards stimulated discussions related to other PSE themes including Health and emotional well-being and Sustainable development and global citizenship.
Each group completed a budget statement explaining which projects they had chosen, the cost and the reasons for their choice. The activity continued with each group feeding back to their peers about their choices. This was an opportunity to discuss how each group had considered the needs of different members of their community and the difficulties they faced when trying to agree on a budget. Finally the whole class voted on the projects chosen by different groups to come up with a single class budget and an agreed list of priorities. The workshop sessions closed with a quick question and answer session to reinforce key facts about the National Assembly covered during the initial presentation.
Links with the PSE framework
Through taking part in this activity learners thought about a wide range of topical local and global issues while considering priorities for their own area.
During the presentations learners had opportunities to:
- listen perceptively and respond appropriately to questions.
During the budget sharing group activity learners had the opportunity to develop their numeracy skills in a ‘real life’ PSE context. They also developed a range of personal and social skills when discussing which projects to choose. These included:
- expressing opinions and justify personal standpoints on issues e.g. lowering the voting age
- taking part in debates and voting on issues, considering others’ views to make informed decisions and choices effectively
- working cooperatively to plan and complete a range of tasks
- being assertive and resisting unwanted peer pressure.
School-based workshops by National Assembly for Wales Education Officers target learning outcomes from the Active Citizenship theme. During the presentation learners gained an understanding of:
- the principles of democracy in Wales
- how AMs are elected and an understanding of their roles.
During the group activity learners developed their understanding of:
- their responsibilities as young citizens in Wales
- how young people can have their views listened to and influence decision-making.
The school hopes to build on its links with the National Assembly for Wales Education service to arrange an opportunity to meet or video conference with their AM.