PUPILS from St James’ Primary School in Whiteabbey, visited the Commissioner for Children and Young People’s office today to showcase their ‘Drums for Peace Poems’ and take part in a workshop on children’s rights.
The 15 pupils are part of a school council and were invited by Patricia Lewsley, the Commissioner for Children and Young People, to her Belfast headquarters following a visit she made to their school earlier this year.
Ms Lewsley visits schools and youth groups almost every day and said she is always keen to give children and young people the opportunity to come into her office to see the type of work she does.
“The most important part of my work is to meet children and young people and hear what they have to say, so having members of the school council from St James’ Primary School visit my office is a great opportunity to do this,” said Ms Lewsley.
“I met with this school group earlier in the year and I was really moved by all the poems which they read to me. In particular ‘Don’t Go Back’, a poem by Primary 4 pupil Aiden Doyle, carried a very strong and important message about peace.
“The pupils had a tour around our office, took part in a workshop led by our participation officers and learned a little more about the work we do. And I got to hear their views on a variety of issues.
“School councils are an important way to improve the ethos of schools, which help solve problems and enable pupils to have an effective say in their school and the decisions that affect their lives. I hope this school council grows from strength to strength and I wish them every success in the future.
"I look forward to the day when every school has an effective way for pupils views to be represented."
Don’t Go Back
By Aiden Doyle, P4, St James’ Primary School
I don’t want to be scared
To go out to play
I don’t want to be searched
When shopping some day
I want all my friends
To be happy and safe
Not worried about bombs
All over the place
The policeman that died
Was someone’s Dad
I don’t want it to be mine
It would make me sad
I want the peace
To stay forever
So don’t go back
That’s not very clever