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Discovering Democracy

Forest Hill School Achieves a Discovering Democracy Award 2015/16!

We were recently invited to an awards reception at the Houses of Parliament. The event, hosted by the Cabinet Office and British Youth Council celebrated the contribution made by schools to promote democratic participation amongst their students.


Forest Hill School is one of only 64 schools across the country that have been awarded the ‘Discovering Democracy Award’.  The event was hosted by Minister for Constitutional Reform John Penrose MP.


The Discovering Democracy Award is an award for secondary schools and colleges that create a positive culture of citizenship and democracy, and help develop youth participation in society.


The Award celebrates and shares the success of schools that go further in equipping their students with the skills and knowledge to play a full and active part in society, through high quality teaching, student voice and social action projects.


We have taken democratic involvement very seriously over the last few years in a variety of ways.  In Citizenship lessons students learn about democracy and how they can get involved in improving their community – this includes work in competitions like the Young Citizens' Programme (YCP) and First Give.  We also are heavily involved in the Young Mayor programme and have the best participation (and success!) in Lewisham.  Last year we ran a full mock election to mirror the General Election and we have run a similar event at SFH6 for the Mayoral elections this year.  Lastly we also have a thriving school council who get involved in all areas of the school.


Speaking at the event the Minister said:

“I would like to congratulate the schools and colleges that have achieved the Discovering Democracy Award. Youth voice is essential to an inclusive and vibrant democracy.


“That is why it is great for me to hear about inspiring work by students across the country to engage their peers and promote voter registration. This lays the foundations for a lifetime of participation within our democratic system.”


The Awards ceremony was chaired by Jon Foster, Chair of the British Youth Council. He reiterated the importance of young people having a voice and commended the excellent work many schools are doing to promote democracy.


“It was absolutely fantastic to meet some of the UK’s most democratic schools at Parliament for the Discovering Democracy Awards Reception,” said Jon.


He continued: “All the schools in attendance were very deserving of their awards and should serve as beacons for other schools looking to get young people involved in local democracy. It’s essential young people are involved at a young age so their voices can be heard at every level. All award winners should be really proud!”


Overall ninety-one schools applied for the Award and of those, sixty-four were successful.  The successful schools will also be named in a British Youth Council national register of good practice which will be shared with the Electoral Commission and Ofsted.