Children & Young People’s Summit to build on referendum energy
Communities up and down the country have a role to play in truly making Scotland ‘the best place to grow up’, Education Secretary Mile Russell said yesterday.
Speaking at Education Scotland’s two-day Scottish Learning Festival at the SECC in Glasgow, Mr Russell announced that a Children and Young People’s Summit is to be held, to build on the “reaffirmed desire of millions of Scots to participate in democracy”.
Mr Russell said: “The people of Scotland have shown overwhelmingly that our community spirit and our desire to participate towards the betterment of the nation are stronger than ever.
“If the grassroots movements of the last two years – people of all parties and none – have shown anything, it is that what unites us all is a fervent wish for a better future for our children, our families and our communities.
“We have two things to do. We have to make sure – all of us – that promises made to the people of Scotland are honoured in full, within pledged timescales. Also, we have to move forward involving the whole of Scotland in decision making, including decisions that will improve life for children and young people in our own communities and beyond.
“To help that process on, today I’m announcing a Children’s Summit for Scotland. Bringing together children, young people, those who support them and wider civic society, this gathering will, I hope, be the beginning of a process that will see a Children and Young People’s Conversation take place around the country – harnessing the renewed interest in positive, energising, consented improvement that we’ve seen over the last two years.
“The Scottish Government will convene the summit but the participants will determine the most effective way to involve interested citizens at grassroots level in improving services for children and young people. Ultimately the Children and Young People’s Conversation will inform Ministers and drive improvement in community services for children and young people.”
The Education Secretary has asked Schools Minister Alasdair Allan and Children’s Minister Aileen Campbell to oversee the process.
Mr Russell added: “Right now our schools benefit from the participation of parents and teachers. Sports teams and youth clubs rely on dedicated volunteers and parents everywhere are active in their communities.
“But the reaffirmed desire of millions of Scots to participate in democracy could help transform our country for the better – and Scotland’s children and young people are rightly the main beneficiaries of this reawakened desire among the public to shape our national life.
“The challenges we face – and the obstacles to overcoming them – didn’t change last week. Our ambition remains undimmed and the challenge to our communities is clear – do your part to help make Scotland the best place to grow up.”