South Derbyshire MP, Heather Wheeler, recently visited Coton-in-the-Elms Primary School. She came to speak when they held their school parliament elections. Each year the school pupils elect their own Prime Minister. The school currently has around 120 pupils from the age of 4 up to the age of 11. A dedicated team of 26 members of staff strive to provide the children with a well-rounded learning experience. During the visit, it was clear that Coton-in-the-Elms Primary School has a warm and friendly atmosphere that creates a special environment for the children to learn and grow. The school parliament election reflects the school’s belief that children should be prepared for life in the 21st Century. Head Teacher, Lee Smith, explained that the election provides an opportunity for the children to prepare for citizenship and encourages them to be independent when forming their own opinions.
The school assembly room set the stage for the election as the different year groups filed in to sit and watch four candidates present their manifesto pledges for the position of Prime Minister. Mr Smith began the event by introducing Mrs Wheeler with the open question, "Does anyone know what Mrs Wheeler does?" After explaining in detail the ins and outs of being an MP, Mrs Wheeler proceeded to open the floor to the election candidates. Year 6 pupils, Owen Ford, Savannah Afzaal, Keona Hannon and Rosie Williamson spoke in front of the school to win the vote of their fellow pupils as they presented a variety of issues that were close their hearts. Indeed, certain pledges such as ‘new football goals’ and ‘bring your pet to school day’ received significant vocal support whilst ‘longer privilege time’ appeared across all manifestos and unsurprisingly received unanimous approval. The vote will be held later in the week when the children will decide who will be their school Prime Minister.
“It was delightful to visit Coton-in-the-Elms Primary School and to see the children engage in their school parliament elections. It is important that young people understand the significance of political participation from an early age, especially when youth turnout at general elections has been traditionally low. I was particularly impressed with how articulate the children were and had their fingers on the pulse by putting forward ideas in their Manifesto that appealed to the pupils - a lesson I will try and learn.”
Information about Coton-In-The-Elms Primary School can be found at: