In a landmark participation project, children and young people will have the opportunity to scrutinise the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, as First Minister’s Question Time is taken out of Holyrood and across Scotland.
First Minister’s Question Time (FMQT) Next Generation will be recorded in Glasgow on Wednesday 12 September, with 100 children and young people in attendance.
FMQT Next Generation will be broadcast on STV’s flagship current affairs programme, Scotland Tonight, on Thursday 13 September, schools and youth organisations throughout the country will also be able to watch the full programme and debate on the STV player on Friday 14 September.
Year of Young People (YOYP) 2018, a Scottish Government initiative, aims to put eight to 26 year olds at the heart of policymaking and the decisions that impact on them – and provide a real opportunity to hold adult decision-makers, including the First Minister, to account.
The project, funded by Scottish Government as part of YOYP 2018, builds on the current participation work of national charities, Children in Scotland and the national agency for youth work, YouthLink Scotland.
The Question Time events are part of a wider body of work by the two charities with the aim of putting children and young people at the heart of policymaking and the decisions that impact on them, nationally and locally.
FMQT Next Generation has been designed and delivered in partnership with a design team of 19 children and young people. They have been involved in decision-making at all stages of the project, from the venue to project visuals through to selecting the questions that will be put to the First Minister.
Children and young people can apply to be part of the audience by getting in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.
Design team member Josh, aged 13, said: “I wanted to get involved because I wanted to make sure that not just my voice, but my generation’s voice, was not just being heard but being listened to and taken into consideration. As the decisions being made will not affect the decision-makers in the long run, they will affect us.”
First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said:
“As a Government, we are committed to ensuring that children and young people are at the heart of decisions that affect them as set out in Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“It states that when adults are making decisions that affect children, children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinions taken into account.
“In this Year of Young People, and through this dedicated Question Time, I hope to offer a platform for children and young people to bring those opinions directly to me. I’m looking forward to a varied and insightful discussion on the day, on the matters that are affecting these young people and their lives.”
Jackie Brock, Chief Executive of Children in Scotland, said: “Our vision is for a dedicated First Minister’s Question Time for children and young people that will become part of the landscape of children and young people’s participation for years to come – whatever party is in power and whoever is First Minister.
“Through our participation work we’ve learnt that only some children and young people’s voices are heard. Younger children, those living in rural areas, who are less confident, or who have additional support needs, can often be overlooked. Projects such as this are a vital means of changing that, creating outlets where the diverse voices of children are given profile and attention.”
Jim Sweeney MBE, CEO YouthLink Scotland, the national agency for youth work, said: “Young people involved in this project have been really passionate and clear about the need for them to have their voice heard. We want to engage with all political parties and institutions at all levels to increase children’s participation in those decisions that will affect their future.
“We’re all excited for the event in September, and pleased Nicola Sturgeon has agreed to kickstart this. We hope it will be the first of many that will see young people involved and taken seriously in Scottish politics.”
Head of News and Current Affairs for STV, Nathan Tyler, the project’s broadcast media partner commented:
“We’re really excited to be working in partnership with Children in Scotland, YouthLink Scotland and the design team to give all those involved as loud a voice as possible and ensure that future viewers and voters in schools and youth groups across the country can watch the first of these landmark events.”
As one of the Year of Young People Communic18 Ambassador put it: “If it’s to do with young people then ask them, involve them and empower them.”