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Report from the NYCC Youth Voice Conference 2016

On Friday 25th November 2016, the year 10 student council representatives had the pleasure of attending the NYCC Youth Voice Conference at the Pavilions of Harrogate. The students had an inspirational day learning about a number of current affairs and topical issues. They have come away with some fantastic ideas and great plans. We are looking forward to seeing these at Ryedale School.


Here are the reviews of the event from the students themselves:

‘Before Friday 25th, I was one of many students under the illusion that to be a member of the Student Council gave you a pretty geeky reputation. Actually it gives you much more than that. It gives you the power to change things. And after our day trip to Harrogate, that is exactly what myself and the other three year 10 council reps intent to do!

The day consisted of 3 interactive workshops, (of our own choice) based around areas important for our society, for example: UK Parliament, Public speaking and confidence building and Refugee Voices; broken up by several inspirational speeches, a delicious buffet lunch and many cups of Yorkshire tea and biscuits.

Nell Thackray - Year 10 Rievaulx - Council Representative

Nell Thackray

For me, the most memorable part of the day has to be the workshop about Refugees. I feel privileged in many ways to have been reduced to tears by three incredible asylum seekers from Afghanistan and Tehran, who so generously offered their unbelievable, personal stories to us young people. Never before have I felt so desperate and motivated to make a difference, no matter how big or small. Something has to be done. The situations these three wonderful people have had to live through (one barely 2 years older than myself) are totally beyond our comprehension, and they are still only a fraction of the many more thousands of people in the same boat – quite literally. It is about time they were given a voice and I feel lucky to have heard just three of them. I truly hope that as a team, the student council at Ryedale School can help make that happen and spread the word further afield.

Although the refugee workshop stood out the most, the whole experience was a brilliant one. Speaking with councilors and a famous Paralympian, meeting and working with other teenagers from all over Yorkshire and discussing topics like LGBT, youth voice and common issues within schools, with them– the whole day was an eye-opener.

All four of us came away buzzing with passion and excitement about ways to improve our school and our general community and I can’t wait to start acting on those ideas.

Thank you very much to Miss Wallis who kindly organised the trip, it was a great experience that I hope many more students will be able to have in the future.’

Nell Thackray, Year 10 Rievaulx – Council Representative

Patch Stone, Year 10 Byland - Council Representative

Patch Stone

‘First of all, I would like to say how wonderful it was that the year 10 Student Council representatives got the opportunity to attend the NYCC Student Voice meeting.

The workshops that we went to were very professional, entertaining and thought-provoking.

Particular highlights were the compelling stories of several refugees; the tips and techniques on public speaking; and the motivational speech of a double Paralympic gold medalist, Danielle Brown.

So, all in all, a very successful trip!’

Patch Stone, Year 10 Byland – Council Representative

Amelia Jackson, Year 10 Feversham - Council Representative

Amelia Jackson

‘I really enjoyed the visit to Harrogate. It really opened my eyes to lots of ideas for the student council.

The refugee voices workshop opened my eyes to what some people are going through to get to a safe and secure country, away from war and conflict.It brought tears to my eyes hearing a woman speak about the torture of her son because of her views. Having to flee her country and leave everything behind was a brave move.

It was a great conference and I really hope to attend next year.

I’m also looking into running some assemblies to raise awareness around the refugee crisis and ways we can offer them compassion and love.’

Amelia Jackson, Year 10 Feversham – Council Representative

Fraser Leeming, Year 10 Mowbray - Council Representative

Fraser Leeming

‘Through attending Fridays student voice event I found out lots of things that we could do to make a difference or make a change.

At the conference we learnt about public speaking, writing songs about current affairs, the migrant crisis and we even met a Paralympic Gold Medallist, Danielle Brown.

We are looking forward to doing more within the school community to leave our mark.’

Fraser Leeming, Year 10 Mowbray – Council Representative

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