Editor-in-chief of The Week Junior, Anna Bassi explains how a ground-breaking digital literacy project helps young people to find their voice
The core aim of The Week Junior is to help young people make sense of the world, encourage their curiosity and to give children a voice by empowering them to confidently form and express their own opinions. The Pupil Parliament project shares those objectives and we are proud to be a part of it. Created by Parliament Education and LitFilmFest, Pupil Parliament is an exciting multi-layered free resource for schools that brings together literacy skills such as researching and writing scripts and persuasive speech writing with digital skills such as filming and editing. Its aim is to teach primary school children about the role of MPs and members of the House of Lords, helping to raise awareness and an understanding of Parliament in a creative and relevant way.
Pupils are invited to consider an issue that is important to them to and to explore how they might create change. They research, write and record short films exploring the issue and invite their local MP to respond to it. It is hoped that this exercise will help young people to see how and why they might contact MPs and members of the House of Lords, and how these individuals might be able to help. As Stephen Wilson from the Parliament Education team explains: “We are hoping to inspire this young generation of engaged citizens to be confident in the fact that they have a voice, to use it, and that ultimately they are being listened to.”
Once the short films have been completed, schools are invited to enter them into the Politics category of the children’s film festival, LitFilmFest. The school that submits the best film each month is then given the opportunity to work with members of the LitFilmFest team to make their film even better. The result of this work is a professionally-produced The Week Junior News report which is showcased on the YouTube Kids app and featured in a monthly column in The Week Junior magazine.
This month’s video, Ocean Rescue, was created by pupils from the Wrotham School and focuses on the problem of plastic pollution. The children’s enthusiasm for their project is clear to see and their short film is crammed with thought provoking facts. You can see all of The Week Junior News reports here.