Before you start
Print the decision and ministers cards attached and cut out. Make sure to print enough for your group.
What to do
Depending on the size of your group, split the young people into groups of between 2 and 4. Give the groups the first set of cards which are the DECISIONS.
Ask the groups to look at these decisions and discuss/write down who they think makes these decisions or has a say in these decisions for them.
After a short discussion, ask the groups to share who they thought were part of these decisions.
Possible guiding questions
- Do you have a say in these decisions?
- Is it your parents or guardians?
- Is it your teacher or head teacher?
- Is it the government?
Discuss how, while you, your parents and guardians, your teachers and head teachers all might have a say and influence these decisions in relation to you. The government, ministers and civil servants all have a lot of influence on these decisions, especially on the options given when making them.
Ask the group if they know what a minister is and what they do. in the following discussion offer them the following definitions:
- Prime Minister – Head of government. Responsible for governments policy and decisions.
- Government Policy – a course of actions/things to be done to achieve a specific goal. For example a policy on better roads would set out how the government is going to create what they think better roads are. This could include creating laws or legislation.
- MPs/ Members of Parliament – elected by areas to represent them. They belong to political parties. Different political parties have different policies depending on what they believe.
- Secretaries of state or Cabinet Ministers- These are MPs that have been given a special job by the prime minister. They are responsible for departments that look at things like defence, health and transport. They work on policy related to their area and might have other ministers to assist them.
- Ministers – While secretaries of state are ministers, there could also be ministers that work across departments on certain areas and policies.
Give the group the Secretary of States and Ministers cards. (There are a lot of them so you are best to only hand out the one you need and use the long list to demonstrate how many other department and ministers there are).
Now, one by one, hold up the decisions cards, and ask the group who else could have an influence over these decisions.
What you learn in school – Secretary of State for Education
Where you can go to the doctor – Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
Where you can go to the dentist – Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
How much it costs to take the bus – Secretary of state for transport
What you eat for lunch at school – Secretary of State for Education
Who you can talk to if you feel sad – Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
Where you go to school – Secretary of State for Education
Who looks after people younger than you – Secretary of State for Education
Where you can live – Secretary of State for Levelling up, Housing and Communities
How much you get paid as a 16 year old – Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy
What are British Values and how they are taught – Secretary of State for the Home Office
What support you get as a young refugee – Secretary of State for the Home Office
Who looks after you if your parents cannot – Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
What safety measures are in place to protect you, your family and home against environmental disasters – Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
If you are allowed to /how you are allowed to protest – Secretary of State for Justice
What happens to you or your friends if you break the law – Secretary of State for Justice
How much you weigh before you are considered ‘at risk’ or ‘unhealthy’ – Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
If you can wear a religious symbol or clothing to school/ in public – Minister for Faith
If you can get British nationality – Secretary of State for the Home Office
The previous activity has shown how many of our decisions and our activities in our daily lives are influenced by ministers and policies. As these affect children and young people, children and young people should have a say in them.
What do the pioneers think this is?
The Children’s Alliance is a group of lots of different organisations, including Woodcraft Folk. It does research on how children and young people are currently affected and need to be supported more in policy relating to early years, mental health, physical health and their family and community.
They have done lots of work and come up with some policy recommendations that prioritise and centre the needs of children and young people.
One suggestion they have to implement these recommendations is to create a Cabinet Minister for Children and Young People. This Cabinet Minister for Children and Young People will ensure that children’s needs are at the heart of policy in all Government Departments.
Ask the pioneers what they think of this idea?
A Minister for Children and Young People
On two pieces of flip chart the pioneers can write down the most important things a minister for children and young people could concentrate on at the moment and how they could work with and listen to children and young people.
If you have the time and resources they could draw round one of themselves and put the things they could concentrate on inside/ outside the body in relation to what they think it links to – if they bring up transport it could go near the feet, if they bring up care and support it could go near the heart and food or free school meals could go near the stomach.
Suggestions include prices and accessibility of transport, dentists, mental health support, spaces to play.
Discussion about next steps
Finish the session with an activity to come up with actions that the group could take to support Woodcraft Folk’s work with the children’s alliance and to influence policy and the ministers in areas they want to.
In a group ask about what actions they think they could do to influence the Children’s Alliance/government/ministers.
With some creative materials allow the pioneers to make a start on their actions.
If they would like to write to their MPs or Alliance about the minister or any areas they want children to be involved in the policy they will need paper, pens, envelopes and the addresses (or email addresses). In November it will also be UK Parliament week where the group can invite their MP to come along and they could talk about these and other issues.
If they would like to join a march or spread information they could make posters, badges or come up with slogans that show why they want to be involved in policy making, want a minister for children and young people or are linked the policy areas they want to change.
If they want to share what they have learnt with other groups/alliance or the public they could film each other explaining the session as a news piece and sharing why it was important.
If you have permission please do share photos of the outcomes/ the creative outputs with central Woodcraft Folk by emailing email@example.com