Tonbridge district primary schools grill Mayor on hot topics

Tonbridge district primary schools grill Mayor on hot topics
BATES DEBATES: The Mayor with pupils from Slade Primary (left) and Woodlands in the Council Chamber

Fifty-one pupils from 12 schools met Cllr Pam Bates and took part in a two-hour debate in the Council Chamber.

They discussed the plastic crisis: should we stop using plastic and re-use items, and do we need more laws to tackle plastic pollution?

The other topic was: should parents be allowed to take their children on holiday in term time?

The children were invited by the Mayor to learn more about local government and to express their views on issues that matter to them.

Cllr Bates showed them around the Mayor’s Parlour, where she hosts events and meetings.

She said: “It was a pleasure to meet such a confident and eloquent group of young people at what proved a very thought-provoking debate.

“They raised some excellent points and I was very impressed with the way they listened to each other and respected everyone’s views.”

After hearing various views on each topic, the children were asked to cast votes. They were in favour of doing more to tackle plastic pollution, with 76 per cent saying we should stop using it and 90 per cent calling for more legislation.

Opinion was more divided on the issue of term-time holidays – there was only one vote in it, with 26 in favour and 25 against.

Some pupils said it would be acceptable if it’s at the end of term when they are not doing so much work on the school curriculum.

Others felt that some families go on holiday during term time because they couldn’t afford to go away in the holidays and that going abroad can be educational.

But some children said pupils could miss vital lessons, and if they did not get a good education they may not secure a good job in the future.

Vicki Timms, a teacher at Woodlands Primary School, said: “This was a really good opportunity for the children to be able to explore their views on some key issues and I was very proud at how well they rose to the challenge.

“It was a wonderful experience for them all and I’d like to say a big thank you to the Mayor for inviting us along.”

Participating primaries

Slade, Woodlands, Brookfield Junior, St Katherine’s, Fosse Bank, Valley Invicta at Holborough Lakes and Leybourne Chase, Wateringbury, Snodland, More Park, Long Mead, Kings Hill.

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