Young people from schools in Towcester and Wellingborough took over the running of children’s services across Northamptonshire today (Friday).
The move by Northamptonshire County Council was part of the national Takeover Challenge.
Takeover Challenge is a nationwide event run by the Children’s Commissioner for England which gives children the opportunity to step in the shoes of adults at work.
Pupils from the Sir Christopher Hatton Academy in Wellingborough and Sponne School in Towcester spent a day with children’s services staff at County Hall where they took part in a senior team meeting, discussing issues including child safeguarding and youth offending.
They also took part in a workshop about early help and prevention services and put questions to director for children’s services Lesley Hagger and county council cabinet member for children and families Cllr Matthew Golby.
Cllr Golby said: “This was a unique opportunity for some of the young people we support to have a direct input into the way we provide services for children and young people across the county.
“Young people can bring fresh eyes and ideas to an organisation and they have a great ability to cut through the bureaucracy I was very impressed with how engaged and enthusiastic they were.”
Miltyanna Antone, a Year 13 pupil at Sir Christopher Hatton School, said: “The day has been brilliant and really informative. It’s been a great way for us as young people to be able to voice our opinions and give feedback about how the county council is running its services for children and young people.”
The pupils later visited NHS Nene Clinical Commissioning Group to take over as writers, designers and editors of the Ask Normen newsletter, a monthly publication sent out to health professionals working with young people in Northamptonshire.
Around 45,000 young people have taken part in Takeover Challenge this year at organisations including major broadcasters, government departments, a West End theatre and MPs.
Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, said: “Children are full of fresh ideas, imagination and energy so they can really provide a fresh perspective that organisations can benefit from.
“Giving children and young people a chance to do adult roles for the day helps organisations understand the needs of children, who also use the experience to show off their talents and achieve their full potential.”