01/29/2023

Wales News Online

Local & National News for Wales

Learners from Bishopston and Penyrheol schools connect with their local Senedd Member via ‘Digital Dialogue”

LEARNERS at Bishopston and Penyrheol Comprehensive Schools were treated  to a unique form of political engagement on Friday March 25, by taking part in a ‘Digital Dialogue’ event Rebecca Evans, their Senedd Member;  a video conference call that brought her directly into their classroom.

Rebecca Evans 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.

Claire Rattie, a teacher art Bishopston school said:

“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.”

Penyrheol school Assistant Head teacher Howard Evans commented:

“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.”

Rebecca Evans MS said:

“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.”

Ian Pope, Head of Programmes Politics Project added:

“Thank you to Rebecca Evans MS and the learners and teachers at
Bishopston and Penyrheol Comprehensive Schools 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.”

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