Young leaders share their aspirations with elected members and senior officers

A big thank you to members of Aberdeenshire Youth Council and local MSYPs (Members of Scottish Youth Parliament) who joined elected members of our Education and Children’s Services Committee and senior officers this week (Tuesday 18 August) to discuss their experiences of learning in lockdown, what can be learnt about those experiences and the key issues young people are concerned about for the school year ahead.

The young people who took part cited internet connectivity issues, exam results and ongoing assessment, and anxieties about returning to school as some of the key things they would like councillors and senior managers to be aware of and take action on.

As well as thanking staff for their continued work throughout the pandemic and the really valuable opportunity to engage with senior officials, they were keen to highlight the concerns of their peers across Aberdeenshire.

Director of Education and Children’s Services Laurence Findlay described the opportunity to hear from all of those who took part as a ‘real privilege’ and offered reassurance that a review into assessment and the future of qualifications in Scotland is going to take place. He recognises that a more progressive system that relies less heavily on exams and is more tailored to different learning styles would be better.

Neil Morrison, Head Teacher of Portlethen Academy, who is also President of the Aberdeenshire Secondary Head Teachers Association locally, underlined the nurturing, empathetic approach colleagues are working to deliver at the moment and highlighted how much discussions like these reinforce the need to understand young people’s perspective.

Councillor Gillian Owen, Chair of the Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chaired the meeting, taking on board the many key and insightful points made by our young leaders, agreeing a further date for discussion will come up in three months’ time.

Find out more about Aberdeenshire’s Youth Council, pupil participation, interest groups, community youth platforms and much more at: https://www.girfec-aberdeenshire.org/home/children-and-young-people/get-involved-youth-participation-and-engagement-in-aberdeenshire/