Pupil politicians have had a taste of life in the House of Commons – after they took part in a debate on the hot topics facing young people today.
Sheffield’s Members of Youth Parliament joined hundreds of their peers for discussions on everything from votes at 16 to work experience with Commons Speaker John Bercow.
They had campaigned hard to get 10,500 young people in the city to fill in ballot papers on what they believed were the big issues as part of the national Make Your Mark campaign.
Sheffield High School pupil Laura Nutton, aged 17, said: “It was an incredible experience to be there in the Commons.
“John Bercow said we were a lot nicer than some of the MPs!”
Hinde House pupil Hamza Ismail, 16, added: “It was a really proud moment because we worked really hard to get all the ballot papers.
“I managed to get the most individual ballot papers with 1,672 – the hard work paid off.”
MYPs are the only people, apart from MPs, allowed to sit and debate in the Commons although they are elected on a non-political basis.
Across the country they worked to secure 875,000 votes – more than the entire population of Sheffield.
Now Sheffield’s members, along with their deputies, will campaign on improving mental health services and the living wage during 2015.
They have found other key subjects are changes to exam resits.
MYP Alex Vesuvio, 17, became an MYP because he feels passionately about making the planet a greener place.
He added: “It’s also about exam pressure to do well.
“People think if they don’t get the marks then they won’t be able to do what they want, it is like going back to a 1950s standard of education.”
There are also three deputy MYPs in Sheffield, including Eleri Kirkpatrick-Lorente, 16, Adil Mohammed, 13, and Ella Jones, 13. They all dedicate time every week to attend meetings, plan their campaigns and turn around the view that young people don’t care about politics.