Not long after the dust of Wales2016 had settled, pupils from Johnston CP in Pembrokeshire were hitting the campaign trail themselves to draw attention to the questionable impact of political flyers.
Emails were sent to the National Assembly by Year 5 pupils, who’d been following the election in their English lesson.
“One of the issues we looked at was the distribution of colour flyers to our homes,” wrote Emyr Lane, Macy Morgan and Ben Cullen. “We asked our parents for their views on them and discussed them as a class.”
Environmental concerns came top of the list –
“Some of the parties talk about saving the environment, but they are hypocritical because the flyers are wasting trees!” wrote Keisha Jones, Freya Banks and Cameron Hughes.
Other pupils, such as Danika Scriven and Fraser Byrant-Thomas, drew attention to the rubbish caused by unwanted flyers being left on doorsteps and blowing around in the wind.
More importantly, several of the young people questioned the effectiveness of sending out flyers as a way of encouraging people to vote –
“Out of our class ONE parent read them!” blasted Erin Morgan and Stacy Griffiths. “Why send them out when no one reads them? So when it comes to the elections no one will know anything about who to vote for.”
Although no flyers were funded or sent out by the National Assembly, the pupils of Johnston CP welcomed the chance to take part in an outreach education workshop, where they learned more about the work of the Assembly and were given the chance to express their concerns and ideas for improvement.
They were joined by county councillor, Ken Rowlands, who was able to answer many of the pupils’ questions on political campaigning and explain the link between Welsh Government policy and the new school that’s currently being built for them.
Some of the ideas put forward by the young people included:
- Making political parties plant trees every time flyers are sent out.
- A ban on glossy paper / colour print for all kinds of flyer.
- Better use of other mediums – TV and radio commercials, newspaper advertisements, social media, email and billboards – to raise awareness of party policies.
- More public meetings in local areas in the run-up to elections.
To book an outreach visit at your school or youth organisation, please visit: http://www.yourassembly.org/get-involved/programmes-in-your-community/