Aylesbury students grill Bucks Councillors for charity's inspiration programme

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Topics included public transport, the state of Bucks roads, and traffic

Aylesbury students were given a rare opportunity to grill Bucks Councillors face-to-face as part of a charity initiative.

Sixth-form students from Aylesbury Vale Academy met with Councillor Paul Irwin who serves the Stone and Waddesdon ward.

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At Aylesbury Vale institution, Cottesloe School, Councillor Peter Cooper came to thrash it out with pupils, he represents Wing, where the school is based.

Councillor Peter Cooper speaking at Cottesloe SchoolCouncillor Peter Cooper speaking at Cottesloe School
Councillor Peter Cooper speaking at Cottesloe School

Charity, Action4Youth, set up the two meetings, giving young people the opportunity to tell local officials what issues matter to them.

As part of the charity’s Inspiration Programme, students discovered how their voices can be regularly heard by the people affecting local policy.

Among the routes teenagers can go down is Youth Parliament.

Action4Youth found that many students in attendance were previously unaware of what a council does and what is involved in a councillor’s job description.

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Councillor Paul IrwinCouncillor Paul Irwin
Councillor Paul Irwin
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Students shared their perspective on issues within the council’s remit from public transport, the state of our roads, traffic issues, empty shops, housing projects, and a lack of facilities and sports clubs.

Pupils challenged the council to use social media to reach more young people, especially via TikTok.

Councillor Irwin said he was surprised how engaged the young people were, adding “It was a really enjoyable experience – the time with them flew by.” He has offered to take their concerns to the council and seek answers for them.

The year-long Inspiration Programme is designed to enrich young people’s knowledge of the world and the potential employment opportunities available to them.

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Aylesbury Vale Academy has run The Inspiration Programme for the past five years.

Cottesloe School initially took the programme as an initiative to re-engage a group of disaffected year 8 students.

After seeing the effect the initiative had on those students, the school has offered the programme more widely since.

Headteacher Simon Jones said: “What the Inspiration Programme does is it brings a variety of people into school who are experts in their field, and that provides a real richness to the curriculum which we simply cannot produce.”

Many well-known Bucks organisations and businesses engage with the programme including Waddesdon Manor and East West Rail.

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