Tag Archives: Political literacy

Young People’s Social and Political Participation Across the EU

 LSE pilot study ends 3rd July
CATCH-EyoU (Constructing Active Citizenship with European Youth: Policies, Practices, Challenges and Solutions) is a research and innovation action funded by the European Commission
CATCH-EyoU is trying to find out about young people’s social and political participation across the EU and want to understand why and how some young people decide to participate (or to not participate) in their communities, in politics, and in social life. They are especially interested in European active citizenship and what this might mean to young people.
The project is currently carrying out a survey which seeks the views of young people, in two separate age groups: between 16-18, and between 19–25 on their experiences and perspectives as young European citizens. The pilot survey will be open until 3 July.
For young people between the ages of 16-18 the link to the survey is here.
For young people between the ages of 19-25 the link to the survey is here.
Any young person completing the whole survey will be eligible to win one of ten £20 Amazon voucher prizes. These will be randomly allocated at the beginning of July, and will be sent via email to the winning participant.
Find out more here.
Contact: Dr Sam Mejias at London School of Economic and Political Science, s.mejias@lse.ac.uk

Fife as a Global Community


Exhibiting the work of: Carleton Primary; Coaltown of Balgonie Primary; Markinch Primary; Milton of Balgonie Primary; Pitteuchar West Primary; Star Primary; Thornton Primary and Warout Primary

The Kingdom Shopping Centre, Glenrothes recently hosted a school event run by St Andrew’s University. Exhibitions of local primary school pupils’ work was on display and the pupils involved were there to discuss the projects that they had been working on, to the public.

Each school has been learning about a different local or global project throughout the current school year. Examples include Mary’s Meals, Children’s Rights, Conflict in Syria, Local Conflict, Socio-economic study of African countries and the tragic loss of Malyasian Airlines Flight served as a prompt for pupils to create their own Carribean Island. The pupils had all been working hard to either run their own Enterprise activities or create Artwork, Stories, Crafts, Music, Drama and Technology to raise money and awareness for their project and associated charities.

The schools all set up stalls and were approached by members of the local community to share what they had learned. All of the pupils were extremely confident in talking to the public and they all showed a great enthusiasm for their topic. They were clearly proud of the work that they had produced and were interested to see what each other had done. Overall, it was a fantastic event and is held annually. Well done to all of the pupils involved!






Your Voice! – Free screening of Pride


“Pride: Uplifting British comedy about an unlikely moment in recent history.” filmclub.org

Into Film, invite you to attend a special screening event, exploring political issues within film.

SIGN UP HERE: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/your-voice-developing-political-literacy-in-scotland-pride-screening-registration-16349938105?aff=es2

This event, follow up Q&A, and activity encourages young people to think about:

  • how film can be used as a platform for discussing political themes and young people’s rights
  • how individuals can make their voices heard today
  • how young people can collaborate and participate in decision making
  • what issues are important to young people and how they could address these issues

Pride, a powerful true-life tale, was chosen to help young people to explore the different ways ordinary people can bring about political change. Set in the summer of 1984 a group of gay and lesbian activists decide to raise money to support the families of the striking miners. But there is a problem. The Union seems embarrassed to receive their support.

After the screening there will be a question and answer session with Jonathan Blake, an activist featured in the film. This will give the young people a unique opportunity to speak to someone who helped shape LGBT rights and laws.

From this event and from the following Q&A we would like young people to reflect on how far LGBT rights have changed since 1984 and what they care about in their own community. Is there anything they feel passionate about changing in society? How can they participate and make their voices heard?

We would ask that all young people come with at least one prepared question relating to either the film or political processes within the UK.

Please see below Education Scotland’s Political Literacy page for further information on how to develop political literacy within class:


For a look at what’s ahead and to encourage discussion, here is the Pride trailer:


Please note that Pride is a 15 certificate.

If you have any questions about this event please contact katie.hamilton@intofilm.org or jo.spence@intofilm.org





Scottish Youth Parliament Launch Child Poverty Campaign

B8BNSIzIcAARPFbThe Scottish Youth Parliament today launched their new campaign “Poverty – See It / Change  It” from the innovative Fuse Youth Cafe in Shettleston in Glasgow.

Louise Cameron, the Chair of SYP, spoke eloquently and passionately about the overwhelming support from MSYP (Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament) constituents to back and support a campaign seeking to eradicate child poverty in Scotland, where 1 in 5 children are growing up in poverty. Read the facts about child poverty in Scotland from Save the Children. Louise said that:

“Scotland could be the best place in the world to grow up” and that child povery was an “issue that transcends party politics” and that “together let’s do more!”

Supporting the event were many MSPs and MPs, including the MSP for Shettleston, John Mason (SNP) and the MP for Shettleston, Margaret Curran (Labour). John Mason said that, “challenging stigma to poverty and raising awareness to poverty” were key parts of the campaign. Margaret Curran stated that young people should be able to “fulfill their potential and make their own decisions of the life they want to live.” And that “life shouldn’t be determined by the postcode in which you were born.”

MSYP Nairn McDonald set out the aims for the campaign:

  1. SEE IT  Raise awareness and let people see the reality of poverty in Scotland
  2. CHANGE IT MYSPs will work across the country speaking to young people, charities and other groups – changing attitdues and challenging stigma through peer to peer discussions.
  3. KEEP IT MYSPs will actively urge decision  makers to ‘keep’ their committment to tackling poverty.

The campaign is already in full swing and thoughout the day MYSPs have been meeting with various charitable groups to learn more about what they do to alleviate child poverty and how the MYSPs can support their efforts. To find out more and chart the progress of the campaign follow the hashtag #seeitchangeit on Twitter.

To find out more about the Scottish Youth Parliament and how the MSYP are elected look here: http://www.syp.org.uk/about-syp-W21page-94-

tam-trauchleIf teachers wish to explore some of the issues around child poverty there are some thought provoking archive films from Scotland On Screen that can be used as great lesson starters.

Tam Trauchle’s Troubles (1934) is a fundraising film for the Glasgow Necessitous Children’s Holiday Camp Fund, which raised money to help send poor children on a holiday during the summer break.

Man Without A Wife (1970)  is about a man whose wife left him to bring up six boys on his own and the difficulties he experienced.

Children of the City (1944) is a dramatised study of child delinquency in Dundee during World War II.

The Health of a City (1965) describes the foundation of day nurseries in Glasgow for children with missing parents.

Glasgow Today and Tomorrow (1949) outlines the Glasgow Corporation’s plans for the redevelopment of Glasgow, including the removal of slum housing and overcrowded tenemants.

Feb 5th: National Voter Registration Day

Celebrate your 16th birthday in style and register to vote! February 5 marks National Voter Registration Day. Run by the youth political engagement charity, Bite The Ballot, they aim to get as many new voters on the register as possible. Last year they registered 50,000 new voters with just £9000. It costs just 25p each to register a new voter. Help them raise the bar even higher.
Bite The Ballot have lots of brilliant resources to help you organise your own voter registration day. http://bitetheballot.co.uk/nvrd/
Use the Twitter hashtag #NRVD to keep tabs on what other schools and colleges are doing to raise voter awareness and register young people on the electoral register.

BBC Schools Report Practice Day

There is still plenty of time to sign up for the BBC’s School Report. The next practice day is on the 11th December.


BBC News School Report gives 11-16 year-old students in the UK the chance to make their own news reports for a real audience.

It is a collaborative project run by BBC News and BBC Learning.

Using lesson plans and materials from this website, and with support from BBC staff and partners, teachers help students develop their journalistic skills to become School Reporters.

In March, schools take part in an annual News Day, simultaneously creating video, audio and text-based news reports, and publishing them on a school website, to which the BBC aims to link.

School Reporters produced a stunning array of content on 27 March 2014, with more than 1,000 schools across the UK making the news on the biggest ever School Report News Day.

The ninth News Day will be held on 19 March 2015.

Sign up to the Social Studies e-bulletin: bit.do/e-bulletin

Scottish Youth Parliament Candidates

The Scottish Youth Parliament holds elections every two years. bit.ly/SYPelections

The next elections to the Scottish Youth Parliament will take place in March 2015. The organisation seeks to promote the values of democracy, inclusion, political independence and passion. Since its inception over 1000 young people have become MSYPs.

The deadline has now passed for registering to stand as a candidate. The confirmed candidates for the 2015 SYP Elections will be announced shortly and candidates will be announcing their manifestos.

You can already follow the candidates and ask them questions on Twitter. Use this link bit.ly/sypelex This is a chance to get involved in discussions and use #SYPElex to share who you think should be elected as an MSYP.

Amnesty Youth Awards

The Amnesty Youth Awards bit.ly/132PPRy celebrates young people’s talents for human rights reporting, photography, songwriting (and performing), campaigning and fundraising.

Applications for our Youth Awards 2015 open on 8 September 2014 and closes on the 30 January 2015.

The competition is open to young people between the ages of 7 – 19 (up to and including Further Education). Students can take part in one or more categories to develop new skills and confidence to engage creatively with human rights.

Amnesty has awards and teaching resources to support five different catagories:

The Awards run in conjunction with the Times Educational Supplement and this year’s judges include:

  • Sir Richard Branson – ambassador of Amnesty’s Youth Awards
  • Sir Trevor McDonald OBE – judge, Young Reporter strand
  • Krishnan Guru-Murthy – judge, Young Reporter strand
  • Rankin – judge, Photographer strand
  • Kate Nash – judge, Singer-Songwriter strand
  • Owen Jones – judge, Campaigner strand

Bite The Ballot: Leaders Live!

Bite the Ballot, the youth charity aimed at politically motivating young people, have a mission:

To drive the biggest turnout of informed, educated and engaged young voters at
the 2015 general election; calling for the next Government to make voter
registration easier, more accessible and engaging for generations to come.

Bite the Ballot insist that people aged 16-24, have been ignored by our leaders for too long.

Bite The Ballot’s giving you the chance to change this by putting your questions to them directly; live and online.
They have organised a series of live Q&A with UK political party leaders. The next one is with Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband, and takes place on the 8th December between 5.30-6.30pm. If you want to take part or watch the interviews with the Greens and UKIP then follow this link: http://bitetheballot.co.uk/leaders-live/

Interviews with the leaders for the SNP and Plaid Cymru are planned for the new year.

Educational Scotland has resources about politics and political literacy here: http://bit.ly/political_literacy

Education Scotland promoting political literacy for all

Scotland’s new curriculum, Curriculum for Excellence, places political literacy at the heart of citizenship education. By doing so it aims to ensure that young people acquire the skills, knowledge and understanding that will help them become responsible citizens who participate actively in society’s decision-making processes.

Political literacy is one of the foundations of modern democracy. It is the means by which citizens make informed choices about the kind of society they want to live in. Being politically literate helps everyone to understand political decisions and how they affect their own lives, and it ensures that evidence and reasoned debate trump unsubstantiated assertion and hyperbole. Political literacy matters in a society whose values are wisdom, justice, compassion and integrity, one which demands equalities and fairness for all, and in which the right of all citizens to develop and express their own views is respected.

In Education Scotland we are committed to helping educators develop young people’s political literacy to the full.  Below is our position so that everyone understands our role and responsibilities which have been agreed with the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES), the Electoral Commission, the Electoral Management Board for Scotland and School Leaders Scotland as outlined in the briefing published jointly by us in June 2013. We want young people to engage in political processes in an active and well-informed way, whilst we are entirely impartial about how individuals’ might vote on any specific issue.

As Scotland’s 16 and 17 year olds will be eligible to vote for the first time in the Constitutional Referendum next year, it is now even more important to ensure that young people develop the skills they need to participate in an informed way. Young People need to be aware of the political process and the key issues at stake and have the confidence and skills they need to participate in a way which enables them to exercise an informed choice.

The development of political literacy should not be left to chance nor be dependent on the particular set of subjects that learners have chosen to study. Rather it needs to be mainstreamed into the curriculum for all. With that in mind Education Scotland is working widely with a range of partners to provide teachers with support for approaches that will enable them to help young people develop the skills, without guiding them towards any particular point of view.

We have already published ‘CfE Briefing 14: Political Literacy’ which provides clear guidance on approaches to promoting political literacy in an impartial way.  In the coming months we will also promote more resources, guidance, case studies and links to information on the referendum which teachers and those working with young people will have the option to use for teaching political literacy, if they are appropriate to their context. We will only promote resources which support the teaching of political literacy in a completely impartial and unbiased way.

Our aim is to ensure that all young people acquire political literacy skills and are well prepared to engage constructively with democratic processes such as the forthcoming Referendum. In any political process our aim is to ensure that all eligible young people are prepared to cast a well-informed vote after engaging in balanced and well-informed consideration of the issues at hand. That is what being a ‘responsible citizen’ is all about.

For more information please visit The Electoral Commission website.