Plymtree CoE Primary pupils taking part in a recycling and waste management scenario.

Schoolchildren experience life at their local council and learn how public service decisions are made

Children from five East Devon primary schools experienced first-hand how their local district council is run as they took part in a national Takeover Challenge Day at East Devon District Council’s offices at Knowle in Sidmouth.

More than 40 children aged 10 to 11, took part in a series of scenarios to help them understand the work of the council as part of the challenge day initiative which aims to get children and young people involved with how public service decisions are made. It also provides organisations, such as local authorities, with a fresh perspective on the services they run.

The five primary schools taking part were:
• Exeter Road Community Primary School, Exmouth
• Broadhembury Church of England Primary School
• Farway Church of England Primary School
• Woodbury Church of England Primary School
• Plymtree Church of England Primary School

Throughout the day children participated in a number of activities, including mock food hygiene inspections and recycling workshops. The council’s Chairman, Councillor Andrew Moulding, and Vice Chairman Councillor David Key joined staff and children for part of the day in a special mock council meeting.

Meanwhile staff from the council’s Housing team worked with the children to discover what was important about their communities and plan a community festival.

Elsewhere ‘Sam ‘n’ Ella’s’ mock grotty café kitchen allowed pupils to play detective and to spot potential food hygiene and health and safety hazards. The café scene featured the owner’s own interesting interpretation of personal hygiene in a kitchen and helped demonstrate the work undertaken by the council when inspecting restaurants and food premises. It also encouraged the youngsters to be more aware of risks at home.

The Recycling and Waste team worked with pupils to teach them about how different countries trade resources and how everyone should recycle more and waste less.

Councillor Moulding, said:

The takeover day is an ingenious way of helping young people understand the work of their local authority and how our services impact on their world. This is eighth time we have held this event and asked children to join us and it’s always a day that’s thoroughly enjoyed by councillors, the children, teachers and council staff involved. Thank you to all the schools that came along this year and made it the fantastic day that it was by participating so well.