Learners from Bishopton Comprehensive School and Penyrheol Comprehensive School connect with their local Member of Senedd Rebecca Evans through ‘Digital Dialogue’ events.
Learners at Bishopton Comprehensive School and Penyrheol Comprehensive School were treated to a unique form of political engagement on Friday 25th March, by taking part in a ‘Digital Dialogue’ event with their Member of Senedd Rebecca Evans; a video conference call that brought her directly into their classroom.
Rebecca took part in two Digital Dialogue events, speaking to a class from each school. In both sessions the learners discussed a wide range of topics, including Rebecca’s career before politics, voting at 16, impact of COVID-19 on small businesses, young people’s mental health and what Rebecca would do if she was Prime Minister!
Digital Dialogue events are 45 minute to one hour long video calls between politicians and their student constituents, and are one of the key components of social enterprise The Politics Project’s Digital Dialogue: Wales programme.
The Digital Dialogue: Wales programme is a political literacy initiative, developed by The Politics Project and funded by the Welsh Government. It is run in schools across Wales and equips students with knowledge, skills and confidence to engage in politics and in their local communities. The programme is designed to give young people a voice letting them have direct conversations with their political representatives about issues that matter to them.
Learners at both schools took part in preparatory workshops in advance of their Digital Dialogue events with Rebecca, which focused on helping them understand what the Senedd is and how Members represent them and how to construct questions while improving their confidence in public speaking.
COMMENT FROM CLAIRE RATTIE, TEACHER AT BISHOPTON COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL:
“I think this has been a fantastic opportunity to bring politics to life for our young pupils. We are extremely grateful to the Politics Project for facilitating the meeting and developing some brilliant resources to be used in schools and also to Mrs Evans for taking time out of her busy schedule to meet the pupils. They have thoroughly enjoyed the session and as expected asked some very pertinent, relevant, and thought-provoking questions about issues that are very close to their hearts.”
COMMENT FROM HOWARD EVANS, ASSISTANT HEAD TEACHER AT PENYRHEOL COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL:
“At a time when 16 year olds in Wales are about to have the opportunity to vote for the first time in their lives I cannot over emphasise how valuable the Digital Dialogue project has been in raising the awareness of the democratic process with pupils from Year 7 to Year 11. From the workshops delivered in school - supported by high quality teaching resources - to the digital surgery with Rebecca Evans MS the experience has been an enjoyable and highly beneficial one for our pupils. The maturity and challenge of the questions posed by the pupils, the sharing of their concerns and hopes for the future to the open and honest way in which Ms Evans answered the pupils' questions made, I am sure, for one of those moments in a pupil's time in school that is remembered for many years to come.”
COMMENT FROM REBECCA EVANS:
“It was such a pleasure to spend time talking to pupils from Bishopston Comprehensive School and Penyrheol Comprehensive School as part of the Politics Project. The pupils asked insightful questions, and they had obviously spent a lot of time thinking about the issues that matter to them most. We covered a lot of ground in the sessions, from mental health and the environment to regenerating our high streets and the cost of living. Listening to young people talking about their hopes for the future was wonderful, and it highlighted why it is so important that politicians get things right for our future generations.”
COMMENT FROM IAN POPE, HEAD OF PROGRAMMES AT THE POLITICS PROJECT:
“Thank you to Rebecca Evans MS and the learners and teachers at Bishopton Comprehensive School and Penyrheol Comprehensive School for two fantastic Digital Dialogue: Wales events. In both events the questions were of an impressive standard. It was great to see how engaged the learners were and how well they had prepared for their dialogue events. The Politics Project wants to make sure that during their time at school every young person can have the chance to have a meaningful conversation with a politician and build positive relationships. We really appreciate Rebecca’s support in helping us achieve that aim.”