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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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The Voting Age - a debate for young people

Monday, July 3, 2006

Meadowhead Secondary School was alive with discussion and debate last week when it hosted pupils choosing what age they thought people should vote. The pupils from Lowedges, Lower Meadow, Greenhill, Woodseats, Abbey Lane and Sir Harold Jackson primary schools were invited by Meg Munn to Meadowhead School to take part in a topical debate.


The pupils discussed what the voting age should be, what issues would affect their vote and whether voting should be made compulsory. At the end there was a secret ballot on what age they should be allowed to vote.


Meg Munn commented:


‘Ever since I became a Member of Parliament I have been extremely keen to involve the young people in Heeley constituency in the political process. Although they are not permitted to vote I believe their views are just as important.


Having visited all the schools in the constituency to speak with, and listen to, the young people I wanted to get their views on this topic. There was certainly a lot they wanted to say on the subject, it was an interesting and engaging debate.


I would like to thank Year 10 pupils and Mr Barrett at Meadowhead School for helping organise the event, and the teachers and pupils from all the primary schools involved for attending. It was a good event, I hope the pupils went away knowing a little more of how the election process works.’


The ballot result showed that there were significant differences of opinion between the different age groups. Over half of Year 6 pupils wanted to vote at 16, with a third choosing 14, only 4 pupils thought the age should remain as it is at 18. Year 10 pupils who turn 16 next year were more evenly split between 16 and 18.


A large proportion of pupils who were closest to the current voting age wanted it to remain the same. Many of them said they thought they didn’t know enough about the political parties. The event concluded that overall there wasn’t enough political education in schools to allow children to make informed choices in an election but that the voting age should be lowered to 16.


Ballot results: (There were not abstentions)

Y6 Pupils                     Y10 Pupils

(44 pupils voted)                  (13 pupils voted)

Age 10                         0                                  0

Age 12                         4                                  0

Age 14                         12                                0

Age 16                         23                                7

Age 18                         4                                  6

Age 21                         1                                  0


Meg is pictured with Lowedges pupil Martina Nyamawuya putting her voting paper in the ballot box.

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