The UK Youth Parliament ran the ‘Make Your Mark’ appeal to young people (aged 11-18 years old), its annual ballot of the UK public’s ‘youth voice’ and students at Ark Burlington Danes got involved.

The ballot contained 10 policies voted for by Members of Youth Parliament including poverty, mental health, curriculum, climate change and votes at 16 and students were asked to select the issue that they wanted to be debated.

Darnell Christie, Deputy Member of Youth Parliament for Hammersmith and Fulham and Year 12 student at Ark BDA, led the campaign at our school and in the local area.

Darnell writes:

After a long week of delivering student voice assemblies, distributing ballots and counting the hundreds received from students, I am delighted to announce that the results for Ark BDA's "Make Your Mark"  youth consultation. 

We had a fantastic outcome, with 839 students returning a ballot.  This represents approximately 71% of the school student population and is a much higher turnout than in most elections!  Thank you so much to all students for your contributions and thank you to tutors for giving time to students to vote.

The top three issues voted for at Ark Burlington Danes Academy were:

•Living wage, with 223 votes (26.6%);

•'Tackling racism and religious discrimination, particularly against people who are Muslim or Jewish',138 votes (16.4%);

•'Improving transport' with 126 votes (15%).

Even more pleasing, was the news that nationally we achieved a total number of 953,000 votes as Youth Parliament, which was only a stone's throw away from our target of 1 million.  Hopefully we'll surpass the one million mark next year.

Furthermore, the UK Youth Parliament convention, which I attended last weekend, was absolutely fantastic!  As well as presenting our results from the consultation and getting involved in several workshops, I was privileged enough to have met with an array of passionate young representatives from all over the UK.  And what's more, I was shocked to find out that I had been made a 'Make Your Mark' champion and was rewarded with a celebratory mug! 

However, the real highlight for me on the day was connecting with so many inspirational people.  

One of whom was the remarkable Joanna Abeyie, the Founder of Shine Media, which has an emphasis on increasing the representation of people from diverse backgrounds in the media industry.

It was truly inspiring to hear her story and where she had come from; it was a sharp reminder that anything is possible with strong determination and a bit of self-belief.

No matter how many times you get knocked down, bounce back; you will achieve.

This week tutor groups are democratically electing their representatives for the Ark BDA School Council.  Good luck to all the nominees!  Once you have elected your rep, talk to them about the issues that concern you for our very own ‘Ark BDA Make Your Mark’ campaign.  I look forward to hearing about your issues and the solutions you propose.   

- By Darnell Christie