Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Convention announces winner of schools’ competition

A school in north Wales has come to the fore in a challenge run by the All Wales Convention, the organisation responsible for gauging the feelings of the people in Wales in respect of more devolved powers from Westminster.

Ysgol Morgan Llwyd, Wrexham, beat competition from other schools in Wales to claim victory. On Wednesday, September 16th, in recognition of their excellent work, pupils from the school's politics department, along with their teacher, Mr Ioan Rhys Jones, will travel to Cardiff to meet with Sir Emyr Jones Parry, chair of the Convention, and members of his executive committee, along with Jane Hutt, Minister for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills, and Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas, the Assembly's Presiding Officer.

A close second was Glan Afan Comprehensive School in Port Talbot, who were inspired to participate in the initiative following a visit and talk by executive committee member Sally Hyman. The work of both schools will be displayed on the Convention's website, and the views expressed are being taken into account as the Convention formulates its formal report for the National Assembly for Wales, due out by the end of the year.

The challenge set by the Convention was to get involved in the devolution debate and to tell Sir Emyr what future the school, its pupils, friends and community, want for the National Assembly for Wales. The framework was open for pupils to interpret creatively and imaginatively. The judges were Sir Emyr and his newest executive committee member, Efa Gruffudd Jones, chief executive of the Urdd.

Sir Emyr Jones Parry, commented

"I would like to congratulate Ysgol Morgan Llwyd on a superb entry. Their response was measured, comprehensive and well argued, underpinning the hard work and effort put into the project. It's incredibly heartening for me to see young people take an active role in politics and be able to put forward their arguments in such mature and logical manner. Politics, after all, affects all our lives and its great to know that these pupils believe so passionately in it and in the future of our country."

Mr Huw Foster Evans, headmaster at Ysgol Morgan Llwyd, added:

"I'm delighted that our sixth form pupils have won the All Wales Convention competition. It's a great honour for us and I'd like to thank the pupils for all the work they've put into the initiative. Our politics department is a great asset to the school and I'd like to commend the pupils and their teachers for their commitment and enthusiasm."

Ysgol Morgan Llwyd's politics department went about gauging the views and opinions of their sixth formers and created a website - - to outline the key questions in the devolution debate.

Daniel Aguirre Evans, a key member of the sixth form politics department, said:

"We had an interesting time compiling our report on the views of Ysgol Morgan Llwyd on whether or not the National Assembly for Wales should be given more law-making powers. At school, we debated the issues and put together a website to highlight the key points about the All Wales Convention and its public consultation."

"We concluded that as a sixth form, we felt strongly that the Assembly needs to have more governing and law-making powers, to enable it to continue the devolution process and improve the status of politics in Wales. We felt that by doing this many of the current constitutional weaknesses would be solved. The majority of us also felt that, at the same time as having increased powers, we also needed to increase the number of AMs, in order to deal effectively with the process of making and scrutinising new laws. Generally though we felt that the Assembly needed to raise awareness of its actions and achievements, in readiness for a referendum in 2011."


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