2022 Award "Best Practice in Citizen Participation"
Participatory Democracy of the Pupil Equity Funding in South Lanarkshire Council
The project based in South Lanarkshire Council aimed to promote the participation of young people and their families in participatory democracy by involving them in how a portion of their school’s Pupil Equity Funding should be spent. Pupil Equity Funding is additional funding allocated directly to schools by the Scottish Government and is targeted at closing the poverty-related attainment gap. All schools who receive this funding, were asked in May 2021 to allocate a minimum of 5% to be subject to participatory democracy.
100% of schools who receive Pupil Equity Funding participated (146 schools). Of those schools, 81% allocated the minimum 5% of the Pupil Equity Funding to be subject to participatory democracy, whilst 19% of schools allocated more than this, with two schools allocating as much as 15% of their Pupil Equity Funding allocation to be subject to participatory democracy. Collectively, the 146 schools allocated £607,136.95, approximately 6% of the £9.9m local authority Pupil Equity Funding Allocation to be subject to participatory democracy.
Each of the 146 schools formed a Participatory Democracy Stakeholder Group, comprising of pupils, parents, and staff, which ensured the process was truly participative from the start. The Stakeholder Group in each school lead a rigorous consultation process with stakeholders taking a lead in the project from start to finish. schools developed their own communication channels within their school community to promote the participatory democracy process.
2084 young people and 1145 parents/carers were trained in participatory democracy and lead this within their school communities. All young people and their families in the 146 schools had the opportunity to be involved throughout the process. 27,972 young people, 9689 parents/carers and 3806 staff voted as part of the process. 90% of schools reported participatory democracy increased citizen participation in their school. 146 projects designed by young people and their families, which focused on closing the poverty-related attainment gap have been implemented.
Each school has their own aims for their project, which use to report impact. One secondary school had a record number of pupils and parents participate, and as a result will commit more money than the minimum required to participatory democracy next year. This school’s project focused on improving the uptake of free school meals. They had 51 young people who did not use their free-school meal entitlement at the start of the project and have reduced this to just 3 young people. In another secondary school, a group of pupils received an additional Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework certified qualification due to their involvement in this work. One primary school project focused on creating outdoor family learning workshops to improve engagement of young people and their families. One parent, who previously did not engage with the school became involved with participatory democracy becoming part of the participatory democracy stakeholder group. This parent has now enrolled in college to become a school support assistant and is fully engaged in school life.
Participatory democracy will continue to evolve next year, as all 146 schools continue to commit to this agenda.
Report inappropriate content
Is this content inappropriate?