Galashiels Academy students, pictured, were guests of honour at the second annual Patrick Geddes Learning Festival in Edinburgh.
Praised by former First Minister Henry McLeish, who was chairing the event, as “a credit to themselves and a great advert for modern Scotland”, representatives from S2 classes as well as S6 students from the newly-formed Galashiels Academy Active Citizenship Group were invited to share their experience of this year’s ‘Bridging the Gap’ Project.
‘Bridging the Gap’ is a collaborative initiative between the social subjects faculty at Galashiels Academy and the participation charity PAS, which aims to engage young people in community decision-making, active citizenship and planning. Posters and artwork produced by all second-year students was displayed as part of the conference.
In his address to the conference, Mr McLeish highlighted the potential of the Galashiels Academy project: “A generational gap has been developing. Hopefully, projects such as ‘Bridging the Gap’ move across Scotland to promote youth active citizenship.”
Children and Young People’s Commissioner Bruce Adamson, who spoke to the Academy pupils after presenting them with Young Placemaker Awards for their role in the project, said: “The students from Galashiels Academy are a shining example of how young people can play an important role in decision-making, policy development and planning. Children and young people need to be valued as equal members of our communities.
“Their views are often not sought, or simply ignored, yet they have the right to important public services like transport, education, healthcare, and recreation. They have a right to have a say in the decisions that affect them, and the pupils from Galashiels Academy showed us how this can be done positively and to great effect.”