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30 October 2012
Today, Parliament Week, UK Youth Parliament and BBC Three’s Free Speech invite secondary students from across the UK to Create the Debate by holding debates in their classrooms on the top five issues voted on by over 250,000 young people in largest ever youth consultation.
The Make Your Mark campaign asked young people to vote on the most important issues affecting them. The five topics that received the most votes were:
• Make public transport cheaper, better and accessible for all, which was also selected in 2011 as a key issue
• Getting ready for work, which asks that work experience placements be made available to all school pupils
• Marriage for all people in the UK
• An equal minimum wage for adults and young people
• A curriculum to prepare us for life, which was chosen directly by Members of the UK Youth Parliament.
The issues will be debated in the House of Commons by the UK Youth Parliament on 23 November as part of Parliament Week (19-25 November), a national initiative coordinated by the House of Commons and the House of Lords, but from today all secondary students can join the big debate by using the free online Create the Debate resources.
BBC Three’s Free Speech has teamed up with celebrities such as SB.TV’s Jamal Edwards, T4’s Georgie Okell and Gemma Cairney from Radio 1 who have created exclusive online films to introduce each debate topic to get students talking. Every day this week (22-26 October) at midday a new film will be released online (www.facebook.com/BBCFreeSpeech and www.twitter.com/BBCFreeSpeech) and students and teachers can use the free resource pack from Parliament (www.parliamentweek.org/schools) to hold their own debates in the classroom throughout October and November culminating in Parliament Week (19-25 November).
Students can join in the discussions online via Facebook and Twitter, and by completing an online poll on the Parliament Week website which will track debates across the UK. Results will be announced during Parliament Week.
Schools can also watch the UK Youth Parliament debate these five issues live from the House of Commons on BBC Parliament (23 November).
Charley Finch MYP for Devon who collected over 12,000 ballots from young people in her community, said: "It is amazing to see so many young people getting involved and voting in the Make your Mark Ballot, showing that young people do care about politics and together our voice does matter and we can make a change. I feel honoured to be part of this and to have the chance to give the vote of thanks at the UKYP debates in the House of Commons."
SB.TV’s Jamal Edwards, said: "A lot of young people complain that nobody listens to them. Well: this is your chance to be heard. If you have an opinion on anything, now is your chance to express it."