Scottish Government reveal children’s summit plans

PLANS for a children’s summit to help improve services for young people have been announced by the Scottish Government.

Mike Russell was speaking at Scottish Learning festival in Glasgow. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Education Secretary Mike Russell said the event would build on the “reaffirmed desire of millions of Scots to participate in democracy”.

Millions of Scots voted in last week’s independence referendum, with 16 and 17-year-olds being allowed to take part in a nationwide ballot for the first time.

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Mr Russell, who was speaking at the Scottish Learning festival in Glasgow, said campaigners on both sides of the independence debate shared a “fervent wish for a better future for our children”.

Key to achieving that is the need for Scotland to “move forward” after the referendum, he said, so that the whole country could be involved in decision-making, “including decisions that will improve life for children and young people in our own communities and beyond”.

The Education Secretary said: “To help that process on today I’m announcing a children’s summit for Scotland.

“Bringing together children, young people, those who support them and wider civic society, this gathering will, I hope, be the beginning of a process that will see a children and young people’s conversation take place around the country - harnessing the renewed interest in positive, energising, consented improvement that we’ve seen over the last two years.”

While he said the Scottish Government would stage the event, he added it was for those taking part in it to “determine the most effective way to involve interested citizens at grassroots level in improving services for children and young people”.

Mr Russell added: “Ultimately, the Children and Young People’s Conversation will inform ministers and drive improvement in community services for children and young people.”

Schools minister Alasdair Allan and children’s minister Aileen Campbell have been asked to jointly oversee the process.

Mr Russell added: “The reaffirmed desire of millions of Scots to participate in democracy could help transform our country for the better - and Scotland’s children and young people are rightly the main beneficiaries of this reawakened desire among the public to shape our national life.

“The challenges we face - and the obstacles to overcoming them - didn’t change last week.

“Our ambition remains undimmed and the challenge to our communities is clear - do your part to help make Scotland the best place to grow up.”