Member of the Youth Parliament, Ellie James, 16, from Swindon has been answering your questions this week. Here’s what she had to say as she took to the hotseat
Q Your “education then procreation” strapline is interesting. Does it mean that, in your opinion, it’s okay for girls to have children as long as they’ve finished school?
A Yes, because if you get the education while it’s there for you, while you are still a child, you can take that further on in later life.
It’s a lot more difficult if you decide you do want to do something which requires you to go back to education later on.
Education isn’t for everyone and there are different routes for education, you don’t just have to go from school to college.
There are also people who just want to leave school and have children, and that’s great, but if you think you might want to do something else later on it’s important to get your education first.
Q It appears that your campaign is aimed specifically at young girls. Do you not think it would be better to promote to both sexes the benefits of having a job/career first instead of jumping straight from education to pregnancy/welfare?
A In my campaign speech I mentioned quite a lot about males and about how they are also affected.
For example, as a young female you may have to stay at home and look after the child but there’s also the pressure on the male to provide, so he might give up his education and get a job he doesn’t like so he can provide for his family, whereas if he stayed in education he might not have to get a dead end job. That was all part of my campaign speech.
Q If you could change just one law, what do you think it would it be?
A That’s a difficult question. I don’t really know. My campaign is more about the young people and about trying to encourage and inspire the young people to believe in themselves and in education. It’s more about helping young people than changing any law.
Q What more do you think the council and Government could do to get more young people into politics?
A The national campaign for the UK Youth Parliament is the vote at 16, and I think it’s a really positive campaign.
When you are 16, you’re still in school and you are easier to engage with than when you leave school, and you’re a more captive audience.
I think you should have a say on the decisions that will affect your life.
Whether you are involved with it or not I think it’s really, really important.
And while they are still in school you can teach them about politics.
I think if there was political education in schools for people aged 15 and 16 they would be more inspired to get involved in politics.
And I think people should have more faith in young people being able to make those decisions.
I think people should be less stereotypical about young people.
I’m doing a project at the moment with Fixers and it’s fantastic, it’s about young people trying to fix things for other young people. These are young people trying to change things, and that’s what politics is.
QDo you think that party politics helps or hinders politics?
AI think the Youth Parliament is really good because it’s actually apolitical and it’s really good to be able to do what you want without people stereotyping you or judging you on what associations you have with political parties, so in answer to the question I think I would have to say yes.
But then we have competition with party politics, and I haven’t had much experience, but from my experience the competition helps to improve things. But I would have to learn more about it.
Q What do you think about the part women play in politics?
A I think women are definitely under-represented and part of the reason why I went into this really is because I wanted to encourage and inspire other young women to go into politics.
I am a feminist and I really think we are under-represented, and there should be more encouragement for women to get involved and that if they want to go into politics they should.
But then there is positive discrimination, which I don’t think is good either. It should come from the young people themselves.
Q How do you see your campaign changing and developing over time?
A My campaign has changed slightly, it’s not so much about teenage pregnancy but about all the things that can stop people from realising their dreams and about how education can help them realise that.
Teenage pregnancy is part of it but there are other things and other choices which young people make which can prevent them reaching their dreams.
Next week...mental health chief Newlands Anning
Next up in the Adver’s Hotseat is Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership’ head of professions and practice for the Swindon locality and innovation development lead, Newlands Anning.
Newlands who has been a registered mental health nurse since 2003, graduated from UWE, Bristol.
He has a wide range of experience working in acute mental health settings, mainly within intensive teams and in-patient units, as well as extensive ward management experience.
He has worked as a modern matron for specialist services which included an eating disorder inpatient unit and Perinatal inpatient unit.
His postgraduate qualifications include an Msc in management and leadership in health and social care and a diploma in innovation and change management.
He is currently working as head of profession and practice within the Swindon locality, as part of the triumvirate management structure alongside the managing director Paula May and Clinical Director Dr Sammad Hashmi.
The main roles of this position include service development and improvement, assurances of high standards of care provision to the service users and carers within the Swindon area.
Send any questions on mental health issues you wish to put to Newlands to firstname.lastname@example.org.