Make Your Mark

This year, over 700 Millthorpe students took part in the Make Your Mark ballot. Organised by the UK Youth Parliament, the ballot gathers young people’s views on the most important issues to campaign on for the year ahead. The efforts of the school council in encouraging as many students as possible to participate put Millthorpe in the top 5 most improved schools in the country.

What is the Make Your Mark ballot?

On 11 November 2016 members of UK Youth Parliament came together to debate and decide, at a meeting in the House of Commons, the most important issue to campaign on for the year ahead.

What is the UK Youth Parliament?

Run by young people for young people, The UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) provides opportunities for 11 to 18-year-olds to use their voice in creative ways to bring about social change. The UKYP is made up of 379 MYPs (Members of Youth Parliament), who are elected by their peers in youth elections throughout the UK. Any young person aged can stand or vote. Once elected, MYPs organise events and projects, run campaigns and influence decision makers on the issues which matter most to young people. The UK Youth Parliament is the only organisation that is allowed to sit in the House of Commons.

What did Millthorpe do?

Millthorpe’s school council decided to make this ballot a priority at the start of the year and distributed voting slips to every tutor group in the school. Each form took a vote and returned the slips for counting.  The student council worked through all the voting slips and tallied the votes by year group.

The British Youth Council, who collated the results from all the schools made a special mention of Millthorpe as being in the top 5 most improved schools in the country as we collected nearly 730 votes. This excellent turn out helped boost York to the top 5 towns in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

What did Millthorpe say?

The results for the various year groups showed many patterns and differences: There were some issues that students considered significantly more important than others across all year groups with youth services and sexual harassment being seen as less important than curriculum for life and first aid for young people.

Year Group  
  7 8 9 10 11 TOTAL

Votes at 16
Give 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote in all elections/referendums.

14 20 27 26 19 106
A curriculum to prepare us for life
Schools should cover topics like finance, sex and relationship education and politics.
30 14 46 24 38 152

First aid education for all young people
All young people should learn basic first aid, on a regular basis, including CPR, and all schools in the UK should have a defibrillator.

36 26 38 9 4 113

Mental health
Services should be improved with young people’s help and mental health education should be compulsory and challenge stereotypes.

11 9 14 11 12 57

Transport
Make public transport cheaper, better and accessible for all.

15 11 12 4 14 56

Stop cuts that affect the NHS
Funding that affects the NHS shouldn’t be cut. We must keep up vital services to protect young people.

23 33 15 11 27 109

Body image
More needs to be done to raise awareness on body image issues, particularly the effects of negative body image on mental health. Bullying connected to body image should be challenged, and reduced.

13 13 14 1 3 44

Fund our youth services, don’t cut them
Youth services provide us with vital support, development opportunities and positive activities.

2 1 2 0 1 6

Raising awareness of sexual harassment in schools
Let’s raise awareness of sexual harassment in schools so that young people affected don’t suffer in silence and can get support from schools and teachers.

7 2 8 0 1 18

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.

21 18 11 7 5 62

What happens next?

The national results were used to set the agenda for the debates held at the House of Commons last month and this will help ensure that the issues affecting young people are in the minds and policies set by the government in the coming year.

At Millthorpe, the school council are using the results of this ballot to help us decide what our own priorities should be in the year ahead and how we can best represent the views of our pupils. We are looking into arranging first aid courses and life skills sessions.

Next year we want to build on the success this year and want to further improve our voter turnout, with more forms completing their votes in time and a reduction in the numbers of spoiled ballot papers.

Links

A report of the debate in the House of Commons:
www.ukyouthparliament.org.uk/news/uk-youth-parliament-calls-for-votes-at-16-in-the-house-of-commons-chamber/

A full breakdown of the results from the national ballot can be found here:
www.ukyouthparliament.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Results-Report-Make-Your-Mark-2016-v1.pdf