Empowering Students for Tomorrow's World

Posted on 25th Mar 2024 in The Mary Erskine School, Debating

In today's rapidly changing world, political literacy is not just a valuable skill; it's a necessity. Recent successes in the Scottish Youth Parliament elections serve as a testament to our teachers’ commitment to nurturing young leaders.

Just this past term, S4 twins, Ife and Ini, have been elected to represent Edinburgh East and Central constituencies, respectively, until 2026. "We’re so proud of our Scottish Youth Parliament candidates following the recent election results," comments Mrs Molloy, Head of Modern Studies at The Mary Erskine School. "Ife and Ini’s election demonstrates our students' commitment to making a difference in their communities."

There is no doubt that our students are interested in world events. Uptake for Modern Studies in S5 and S6 has shown such a positive increase that Mrs Molloy's department will see the addition of a new Modern Studies teacher in time for the next academic year. And it’s not just in our Senior Schools that you’ll find politically motivated students. The messaging starts in Junior School, where children are involved in our efforts to become a Rights Respecting School, an award given on behalf of UNICEF UK which recognises schools where children’s rights are at the heart of ethos and culture. Even our youngest children participate in assemblies around their rights, and many of our older Junior School students sit on a steering group which is working towards the award.

Once they have had a taste for politics and move up through Senior School, under the guidance of Mrs Molloy, the students are not only learning about politics but also embracing it as a means to effect positive change.

Earlier this term, Mrs Molloy and her team hosted a careers event dedicated to Politics and International Relations which brought together students from various schools in Edinburgh. The event provided a platform for young people interested in politics to interact with professionals in the field.

"My concern sometimes when I teach Politics and Modern Studies to young people is the danger that there might be a degree of cynicism amongst them because of the way that politics and politicians are sometimes portrayed in the media," reflects Mrs Molloy. "By exposing students to diverse perspectives and career paths within the political sphere, we aim to nurture their curiosity and passion for positive change."

Our Politics Club also serves as a hub for lively discussions on a range of topics, allowing students to explore complex issues and develop critical thinking skills. And our commitment to political education extends beyond the classroom. Visits from local politicians, assemblies highlighting the workings of governmental bodies, and investments in mock election resources all contribute to creating a rich learning environment where students are empowered to become active, informed citizens.

"Following a run of elections and referendums in Scotland and the UK, we now have our own proper ballot boxes to support all the mock events in school. These will be featuring in our mock general election later this year.”

As the country prepares an upcoming election, our students are already taking action as informed citizens and showing us their potential as future leaders.

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