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Y10 student attends UK Youth Parliament Annual Conference at the Palace of Westminster
In November, Heidi Szynkaruk, a Y10 student from Colston's Girls' School (CGS), was invited to attend the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) Annual Conference at the Palace of Westminster, in her capacity as the elected Member of Youth Parliament (MYP) for Bristol.
We asked Heidi to tell us about her experience as a MYP and what it was like attending this prestigious event in such an iconic location…
Entering the House of Commons Chamber was almost surreal, seeing the place where the likes of Boris Johnson and other major politicians debate the country's future. We sat on the infamous green benches, alongside members from the same UK region. We were very lucky to have the new Speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, for the morning debates and the deputy Speaker, Eleanor Laing for the afternoon debates.
The debates covered in the conference had been selected via a collection of previous votes. This year, the five motions debated were Knife Crime, Climate Change, Mental Health, Votes at 16 and Curriculum For Life. At the conference, members listened to speeches talking for and against the topic. Members had the opportunity to ask questions to the speakers and at the end of the conference the top two motions were voted for and these will become the two main campaigns for 2020. Unfortunately, I didn't have an opportunity to speak in the chamber on this occasion, although I had two speeches prepared, just in case!
Heidi commented on her experience as a Member of Youth Parliament saying;
Going to the House of Commons Debate was one of my favourite experiences from my MYP term of office and I'm really sad it's ending in February. At the annual conference, it was fantastic to see how passionate some young people were about key issues and this made me really proud to be part of the UKYP, and even more motivated to apply again next year to remain a member for Bristol.
When I'm old enough, I'd love to stand to be a counsellor and eventually an MP, as I think there aren't enough young people in parliament. I want to bring a new perspective on issues like PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education), and most importantly for me, Votes at 16, which I think is crucial.
Being part of UK Youth Parliament has helped me learn more about the political system, and has given me invaluable experience of campaigning for issues I am passionate about, talking to decision makers and meeting so many like-minded young people.
UKYP - How does it work?
Information from the UKYP website:
Members of Youth Parliament aged 11-18 take part in an annual debate in the House of Commons chamber, chaired by the Speaker of the House of Commons. They debate five issues chosen by a ballot of young people from across the UK and then vote to decide which two issues should become the UK Youth Parliament’s priority campaigns for the year ahead.
Members of Youth Parliament will sit in the House of Commons for the eleventh time in November 2019.
Further information about UKYP is available at: