Schools play a central role in developing the life-skills and confidence of young people. Participatory budgeting (PB) is a proven deliberative process that can inspire, empower and engage young people in a cooperative, democratic and purposeful way. Bringing the two together has many positive benefits for schools, for society and for young people.
School based PB, through promoting social action, develops student leadership, supports student and school success, promotes student and parent voice, and involves the entire school in meaningful civic experiences. Participants learn democracy by doing it. Organisations such as #IWill and OFSTED have seen the link between social action and curriculum enhancement. And young people, inspired by Greta Thunberg and the School Strikes for Climate movement have be pushing forward the climate change agenda.
Shared Future CIC, with our unrivalled expertise in participatory budgeting through our PB Partners, collaborated with WerdelinEducation, specialists in cooperative learning, on thinking through what it would take to enable UK schools develop their own participatory budgeting processes. Our first step was a webinar on the 27th March 2019, and then a workshop in Birmingham on the 20th May 2019.
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This work is inspired by the development of PB in Schools in the USA, and also the experiences happening in Scotland, as a result of the exciting Community Choices programme, led by the Scottish Government, which has already seen millions of pounds spent through PB.
Over the next few years PB in Scotland will increase in scale. Schools can and should be central to growing passionate and informed citizens of the future, in Scotland, and across the UK.