Spring 2003

 
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What is the rocket?
The rocket represents the power that young people can have when they work together.
Where is the rocket going?
To the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Executive and on to the wider Scottish population.
How far will it go?
This will depend on the enthusiasm and commitment of S2 pupils throughout Scotland!
The next step
These messages are examples of what matters to young people. Some important discoveries have been made on this first trip:
1. it is possible for young people to deliver their message directly to the Scottish Parliament and to the Executive.
2. pupils can use the media to get their views across locally and nationally.
You can now build on this experience and explore the exciting potential of peer pressure - when young people come together to voice their opinions about issues which affect them.
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What do S2 pupils in Scotland think about school?

In November last year, over a hundred S2 pupils from all over Scotland came together at a conference in Bellshill, to launch their views about their school experience. The title of the day (suggested by a pupil) was 'Rocket Talk' and the idea was to share the views and ideas of S2 pupils with a wide audience throughout Scotland. As promised, pupils took their key messages to the Scottish Parliament and Executive in February of this year. In a presentation to the Education, Culture and Sport Committee, a group of pupils from the conference told the MSPs what it's really like to be an S2 pupil. In this newsletter, Karen Gillon, who is Convener of the Committee, describes the positive and powerful impression the young people made. The pupils have also been able to get some of their points across in the local and national media and now, with this newsletter, which is being sent to every S2 pupil in Scotland other pupils are being invited to climb on board and participate in the debate about what S2 pupils want from their schools.

'Rocket Talk' was organised by North Lanarkshire Council, The Anti-Bullying Network and The Scottish Schools Ethos Network.

Talking to a Parliatmentary Committee

For many pupils it was probably the first time they'd been inside the Scottish Parliament buildings, let alone addressed a Parliamentary Committee! Nevertheless, the pupils calmly delivered the key messages from the Rocket Talk conference to members of the Education, Culture and Sport Committee. This was a unique opportunity for pupils to tell the people who influence and create educational policies, what they like and don't like about schools today and also to suggest ways in which things could be improved. The pupils themselves had decided how they would get their points across - some using role-play and others directly talking to the MSPs about the issues. The presentation was followed by an interesting question and answer session, when members of the Committee asked pupils about the issues they'd raised. It was hard not to be impressed by the sincerity and enthusiasm of all the pupils involved.

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