The successful Scottish Parliament MSPs in Schools programme re-launches this week, after reaching out to more than 6,000 pupils at 100 schools in 2006-7.
Bookings for this year’s programme of school visits – which will start in September and run to June 2008 – will be taken from April 16 on a first come, first served basis.
The free programme is designed not only to teach children about the Scottish Parliament, but to give them a chance to meet their MSPs and take the opportunity to present their own ideas on the issues that most affect them.
Back in March, the Presiding Officer George Reid visited Fossoway Primary School as part of the programme where he witnessed a mini election – complete with pupils forming their own parties, drafting their own manifestos and casting their votes.
Speaking at the visit, Presiding Officer George Reid said: "This is an extremely valuable and worthwhile project, and all the young people I have spoken too are passionately interested in politics and the world around them.
"Events like these give pupils the opportunity to not only learn about their parliament, but also gain a greater understanding of how they can play a real part in the political process."
The programme started in 2005 to strengthen the links between schools, young people and the Scottish Parliament.
Since then MSPs have visited schools in 30 out of 32 local authorities.
In 2005-6, 58 schools and 95 classes took part – with 70 MSPs making 143 visits. By 2006-7, more schools were involved, with 105 schools, 225 classes visited, and 77 out of 129 MSPs taking part.
The MSPs in Schools programme has been running for two years and aims to inform school pupils of the work of the Scottish Parliament through the wider aspects of education for citizenship in Scotland, including motivation, values and participation.
The project has been set up by Hansard Society Scotland working with the Scottish Parliament’s Outreach Services, Learning and Teaching Scotland and The Scottish Executive.
The programme is made up of two sessions, or visits:
- The first session is held by a member of the Parliament’s Outreach Services team who visits the school to talk to the children about how the Scottish Parliament works.
- Then in the second visit the local MSPs are invited into the school to explain first hand their role.