The council held its first Youth Summit earlier this month, inviting more than 100 young people from across East Lothian to share their views and ideas on improving their education experience.

Fiona Robertson, Head of Education, said:

“We invited young people from each of our schools to share their views, insights and experiences of our education service, in order to help shape our Improvement Plan 2018-2019. This is a key plan that assists us in delivering the very best education and care for all, and listening to young people’s experiences - particularly in relation to their learning – plays an important part in shaping this.”

Speakers at the summit included Councillor Shamin Akhtar, the council’s Education and Children’s Services; Children and Young People’s Commissioner Bruce Adamson; Education and Skills Committee Convenor James Dornan MSP; and Iain Gray MP for East Lothian.

Young delegates worked in groups to discuss key questions relating to the Student Evaluation of Experience Survey (SEE Survey) that is carried out every year in East Lothian schools. Emerging themes included mental health; the impact of child poverty on young people’s learning; and the need for more opportunities and increased access to digital technology.

Comments received from young people about the day included -

  • “I liked how everyone’s voice mattered – it wasn’t just the best voice was right”
  • “I enjoyed talking about how we can improve our schools”
  •  “I liked having the chance to talk to other young people about the issues we face and how to overcome them"
  • “I liked coming up with ideas and solutions for real problems”

“I liked coming up with ideas and solutions for real problems" Young delegate

Cllr Shamin Akhtar, Cabinet Spokesperson for Education and Children’s Services, said:

“I’m delighted that our first Youth Summit was a great success. The young delegates were hugely enthusiastic, incredibly inspiring, and were a real credit to themselves and their schools.

“Young people’s voices are really valued and needed, and the summit provided an opportunity for them to share their views and experiences directly with us, as well as their ideas for change. They also had some really challenging questions for the speakers, including myself, which is exactly why listening to young people and involving them in policy and decision making is so important. I’m really look forward to seeing how these ideas are translated into action.”


Published: Tuesday, 27th March 2018