Harpenden school pupils lobby Parliament to Make School Safe
PUBLISHED: 13:02 02 July 2018
Two pupils from Sir John Lawes School in Harpenden have visited Parliament to lobby the government to help make schools around the world safer.
Katie Sutton and Amelia Bird were chosen to become champions for the education charity Send My Friend to School, and help lead the Make School Safe campaign.
They worked with other Year 9 pupils to run lessons for Year 6 and 7 pupils about the human right to a safe education.
Sir John Lawes’ head of life skills Manny Fernandez said: “246m children around the world will experience violence at schools and cannot enjoy their right to an education, so what is great about this campaign is it’s designed to be led by pupils.”
On Wednesday, June 20, Katie and Amelia travelled to parliament with 22 other pupils from across the UK, where they met with Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami.
He has invited the two to go with him to Downing Street and present messages from Year 6 and Year 7 pupils to the Prime Minister.
Amelia said: “It is an honour to represent young people from across the UK and speak up for the millions of children around the world who are missing out on getting a safe education.”
Katie said: “My favourite part was meeting with the International Development select committee and minister Harriet Baldwin, to whom we gave a photobook showing all the campaigning activity from around the country.”
The Send My Friend School campaign has been aiming to encourage the British government to sign the Safe Schools declaration, which Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson did earlier this year.
Mr Fernandez said: “That was actually quite a significant result and we have been assured our children’s voices encouraged the government to do that.
“One of the key things is, in terms of what the children themselves gain, is an incredible opportunity to understand the whole process of our democracy and how citizens can join in by having their voice heard in issues that affect them.”
He added the goal now was to get other countries to sign the declaration and implement it, which includes investigate allegations of violations of applicable national and international law and seek to ensure the continuation of education during armed conflict.