Young People Vote for a Curriculum for Life

Three Members of the Youth Parliament (MYP) from Bicester, South Stoke and Oxford joined more than 300 more MYPs to debate five key issues for young people around the UK.

Holly Laverick (17) from Oxford and Cherwell Valley College (OCVC), Harry Haslam (18) formerly from Wallingford School and Naiha Masih (17) from Matthew Arnold School represented Oxfordshire in the live debate.  The winning motion concluded that the national curriculum should be, 'a curriculum for life', incorporating wider life skills including political knowledge, better sex and relationships education and improved cultural awareness. This will now form the basis of the UKYP’s campaign for the coming year.

Receiving 154 of the 295 votes cast, the motion was one of five debated by the UK Youth Parliament in the House of Commons chamber on Friday 23 November chaired by the Speaker Rt Hon John Bercow MP.

Naiha Masih MYP who is currently studying for A’ levels in English literature, sociology, economics and drama explained:  “We all had our schools and colleges take part in the national Make your Mark ballot which decided the debates we would do. There was a massive long list of possible debates and I think people found it really hard because they only had one vote, but in the end the final five I think were accurate in reflecting how the young people of Oxford City felt."

Holly Laverick MYP who is currently studying for a Level 3 BTEC in Dance at OCVC said “Developing a curriculum for life that teaches us how to cope with real life issues was deemed to be absolutely vital by the vast majority of people surveyed.  For example, some of the issues highlighted time and time again were: what is the best way to cope with starting a new job or conversely how do you handle being told you haven’t got the job you so desperately wanted? How do you say no if you are feeling pressure to start an intimate relationship or conversely how do you handle rejection?” 

Harry Haslam MYP, who is now reading history at the University of Warwick added:  “Now that the motion has been carried we will all be working extremely hard at a local level to consult with other young people to discuss and agree a practical strategy of implementation.”

The future is in good hands

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council added:  “I am constantly delighted by the extent of the dedication, hard work and commitment our MYPs demonstrate.  The future is in good hands if Naiha, Holly and Harry are representative of our younger generation.”

The four other motions debated by young people in the chamber were: An Equal National Minimum Wage for All (50 votes), Getting Ready for Work (46 votes), Make Public Transport Cheaper, Better and Accessible for All (23 votes) and Marriage for All (22 votes).

A total of 307 Members of Youth Parliament aged 11-18 took part in the debates, the subjects for which were voted for by over 250,000 young people across the UK.

Children's Minister Edward Timpson MP who attended the debate said: "We've had energy, eloquence and passion in abundance. You've tested and challenged my views and values and those of all around you. I would challenge anyone here today or watching elsewhere to leave without feeling seriously impressed."