NEARLY 100 per cent of pupils aged 16-18 at a school are among the thousands who registered to vote.
Mary Immaculate High School, in Wenvoe, has been politically focused in the lead up to the 2021 Senedd election (held on May 6) – for the first time ever 16 year olds in Wales had the opportunity to vote.
Following the success of Vote 16, the school worked with Year 11 pupils to ensure they were politically engaged. Year group assemblies involved pupils representing different parties to share manifestos, key values, and views.
Form Time sessions were also held; questionnaires, analysis and discussions took place among students to reveal which party they were most aligned with and why. 95 per cent of the Year 11 students at Mary Immaculate High School in Wenvoe were eligible to vote ahead of the election.
One of the major groups who petitioned for 16-year-olds to vote was Citizens Cymru Wales, with Richard Weaver – a Citizen Cymru Community Organiser – participating in the schools’ online assemblies and Q&A sessions to support learning about the voting process.
Mr Weaver said: “It has been a pleasure working with the pupils of Mary Immaculate High School in the lead up to the Senedd elections.
“16- and 17-year-olds – for the first time – had influence in choosing the members who will represent them in the next Senedd, giving them a voice over the decisions that will define their future.
“I am delighted that 95 per cent of pupils in the school who were old enough to vote had their opportunity to do so in this election.
“Mary Immaculate High School has been helping lead a movement of schools and colleges across Wales who together have registered more than 5,500 16-18 year olds to vote.”
Following the success of the pupil’s excitement and engagement, Citizens Cymru Wales invited students to meet with Mark Drakeford – they reinforced the message: “Young people of Wales are not the future, but the present.”
Reflecting on their experiences, pupils Eleri, Kerys and Ben produced a blog to be published on the Citizens Cymru Wales Website, which states: “The whole process has been informative, and we are so happy that we have the opportunity for our voice to be heard! Having the chance to vote gives us the feeling that we are contributing to the society that we live in.”
Acting deputy headteacher, Robert Aldridge, added: “We were delighted that the students learnt so much from their experience and were more than happy to participate in the sessions. Such a project underlines Mary Immaculate core values and is an important part of the students education.”