All Saints School Council visit Town Hall

School councillors from All Saints Primary School in Sidley were given a behind-the-scenes tour during a visit to Rother District Council’s Town Hall.

Members of the school council made the special trip on Friday, July 14, and met Chair of Council Cllr Mrs Vikki Cook, as well as Vice Chair Richard Thomas, Sidley Councillor Sam Coleman and Cllr Jimmy Stanger, one of the School Governors at All Saints.

After walking up the central staircase and looking at all the walls covered in portraits of past Chairs, the students were taken to the Members’ Room, where councillors can do work or prepare before meetings. The school councillors were not short of questions as they discussed the various tiers of government that affect their lives.

The pupils then took their seats in the Council Chamber for a mock meeting.  First on the agenda was questions for the Chair, and the students had lots of interesting, perceptive questions about how the Council operates.  Next on the agenda was a break for fruit squash and biscuits followed by the main debate of the meeting.  

It was decided that the issue of litter bins and dog waste should be discussed, and a hypothetical scenario was created where they could either install more bins around Sidley Recreation Ground or build a skatepark there (imagining that the current skatepark doesn’t exist).

Students gave intelligent and considered responses on both sides of the argument with the aid of Cllr Thomas, who argued the case for more bins, and Cllr Coleman, who argued the case for the skatepark. In the end, a compromise was reached whereby the size of the skatepark would be reduced slightly so that the savings could cover the cost of waste bins and their clearances. This motion was then voted through unanimously.  

After their lively debate, the second half of the tour began with students visiting the upstairs public gallery and then testing out the Chair’s throne-like chair and gavel.

The children visited the offices of the Interim Chief Executive’s and the Democratic Services team, and met a member of the customer service team who explained to them what their day-to-day role was.  The final stop on the tour was the neighbouring building where Planning, IT and other call centre staff are based, they had to be really quiet here as there were lots of important phone calls going on. 

After concluding their tour, the school councillors returned to the Chamber for a final discussion about political parties, how the Council’s Cabinet structure works and what rules Councillors have to follow.

Cllr Sam Coleman said: “As ward member for Sidley, I couldn’t be prouder of the visit by All Saints. The students were intelligent, well-mannered and engaged – a real credit to Sidley and to the school. Given how thoughtful and well behaved the school councillors were, it looks like the future of politics will be safe in their hands.  

Welcoming the visit, Cllr Jimmy Stanger added: “If we don’t encourage young people to get involved in their local community and council, we are failing to prepare for the future, especially for Rother as a whole.”


Published: 20th July 2023

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