24 Oct 2011

COMMISSIONER for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley-Mooney has congratulated the Assembly’s Education Committee on its decision to launch an inquiry into school councils in Northern Ireland.

The Commissioner has been championing the creation and development of school councils for several years through her Democra School campaign.

“The Committee for Education has taken a positive step which I hope will result in more children and young people having a real and meaningful input into their school lives,” she said.

“Having spoken to the chair of the committee and members on this issue in the past I am delighted that they are taking forward this inquiry, and I hope it will complement and develop upon the work that I have been undertaking for a number of years.”

Ms Lewsley-Mooney outlined some of that work, including work with key stakeholders.

“We worked with teachers and pupils to develop the Democra School programme, which is a detailed guide to setting up a school council.

“Since its launch, I have engaged with Department of Education officials and the Minister to advise them to develop a policy on school councils. While I have received a positive hearing, I have been disappointed at the lack of progress to date,” said the Commissioner.

“I believe the committee’s inquiry is the next step in the development of a policy on school councils that will enable more pupils to have real participation in school.

“The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states in Article 12 that children should have a say in the decisions that affect their lives, and the committee, through this inquiry is making a clear commitment to realising that in schools.”

Ms Lewsley-Mooney concluded: “I look forward to giving evidence to the Inquiry and to congratulating the Committee on making a commitment to children’s rights, particularly their right to have a say.”

Notes to Editors

  • You can follow the Commissioner’s work on Twitter here
  • Following her recent marriage Patricia Lewsley is now to be referred to as Patricia Lewsley-Mooney.
  • Please note the recent change of postal address for the Commissioner
  • The Commissioner’s full postal address is now:

Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People
Equality House
7-9 Shaftesbury Square
Belfast
BT2 7DP

  • Email and telephone contact details remain unaffected