Ark Decides 2015 - The Results!
The Ark Decides Student Election 2015 was a great success; 50 manifestos submitted, 9 candidates chosen and 404 votes cast in all - we were impressed with voter turnout which amounted to at least half of all secondary students!
Congratulations to our winners: in Year 7 Shukri was victorious, in Year 8 Nadia inspired the voters and for Year 9 Rynell was the pick of the crop.
When asked what made her want to run for election Shukri said: 'I wanted to improve the community, environment and to improve the school as well with healthcare and education and economic changes as well.'
She feels that it is important for young people to get involved in politics: 'If you start at this age then everybody will become what they want to be when they’re older, because it will make them more confident and they’ll have more of a chance and experiences to share.'
Fellow candidate Amira agreed: 'We have to get our voices heard. Many people think that young people aren’t really that sophisticated and they can’t run politics but that’s not true because they have ideas as well. Just because people are older and more mature that doesn't mean they have better ideas than us.'
Nadia explained her manifesto, in which education was her number one policy:
'There are some aspects, like languages and the arts that aren’t really emphasized as much as they should be.
Languages are important because you use them when you go abroad, they open up so many opportunities for careers and it’s actually really fun to learn a language.'
'The Arts should have more attention given to them because they express the view of people who may not necessarily get a voice in government.'
Year 9 candidate Leanne told us that campaigning is not as glamorous as it looks: 'It's very hard! Getting a group together to start designing your own manifesto, getting everyone else to notice you, getting them to understand what you want done, but also spreading the message to other students who may not understand your sense of personality.'
Food at school was definitely a major issue among the student body with Year 9 candidate Reece explaining:
'Lots of people said they want more choice in the cafeteria because some things that they don’t like are more frequent. Sometimes you’ll have a croissant on Monday this week and then have it next week too – some people wish they’d mix it up and try new things.We also want to be able to bring healthy packed lunches.'
Shukri, Rynell and Nadia won over the voters on Polling Day
Rhys was certainly enjoying the process - 'I'm excited for the vote because you don't get to have these experiences every day.' Amira agreed: ' The polling station has been really busy - I was actually the first vote! The experience has taught me how to work in a team, with my campaign team, and how hard politics actually is.
What we learned from campaigning....
Sasha picked up on the most important part of the process - convincing voters to support you!
'I’ve learnt that lots of people want different things and that's hard because sometimes you can’t persuade people with your ideas; you have to come up with new ideas and see what they really want to happen.
They need to be comfortable with what is being changed.'
However she certainly knows the best way forward: 'I think that I really want everything to be equal for the people because if I have something it’s not fair that other people don’t.'
Do any of these budding democrats see themselves as future MPs?
Rhys was keeping his options open: 'I can vaguely see myself going into politics but that's before we get this over and done with haha!'
Election organiser Mr Higson was delighted with how the students had responded on Polling Day: 'We’ve had students debating who’s got the best manifesto and doing last minute lobbying of their friends and fellow students.'
He was especially pleased with their enthusiasm:
'It’s absolutely amazing how many people are interested in politics but they see politics on the news and think it’s nothing to do with them, but actually if you ask students about the NHS, and whether they care about education and helping people less fortunate than themselves you’ll find that they all care about those issues.'
The winning candidate will be given special privileges along with members of their campaign team such as jumping the lunch queue.
But as Mr Higson says: It is more important for the students to take part and see how a campaign is actually run and how Democracy really does work.'
Hear Hear Mr Speaker sir!
Thank you to all of our brilliant and passionate candidates and their campaign teams for all of their hard work over the past two and a half weeks, and again well done to our three winners, Rynell, Nadia and Shukri.