Grantown pupil’s insight into work of Highland Council (13/11/12)

Kirsty Laing meets Councillor Alasdair Christie, Chairman of the Adult and Children’s Service Committee as she shadows Councillor Jaci Douglas for the Council’s Badenoch and Strathspey Ward

A Grantown Grammar School pupil’s interest in politics saw her recently seated at the centre of local democracy as she attended The Highland Council’s Adult and Children’s Service Committee with one of her local councillors.

S6 pupil, Kirsty Laing who is interested in politics, approached Councillor Jaci Douglas for the Badenoch and Strathspey Ward and asked if she could find out more about being a councillor and how The Highland Council and local government worked.

Kirsty spent a day with Councillor Douglas starting in the Council’s Independent Group pre-meeting; she then attended the Adult and Children’s Service Committee. After committee, Kirsty met Councillor Alasdair Christie, Chairman of the Adult and Children’s Service Committee, the Director of Education, Culture and Sport Service Hugh Fraser and Deputy Leader David Alston. She then went to a meeting regarding school meals and nutrition.

Kirsty said: “I'm in the process of applying for politics at university and finding out more about what Jaci and The Highland Council do helped me understand about what I'll be hopefully studying in the future. It was a really interesting day."

Councillor Douglas said: “It was a really good, if long, day and I felt very privileged to have Kirsty with me. She was an excellent ambassador for her school being interested, enthusiastic, polite and intelligent. She asked many insightful questions and helped enlarge my understanding of pupil life in our schools which I used to inform questions on the day and beyond.

“She made some excellent suggestions and I am keen for her to come back to headquarters again sometime soon to meet some of our officers working for instance in European policy as well as spending time perhaps with a political party so she can see all sides of how the Highland Council works. As an Independent I obviously do not think party politics belongs in the Highland Council but it is important that Kirsty has the opportunity to hear both sides of that and make up her own mind.”

She added: “All in all, I really enjoyed having Kirsty with me and I am looking forward to our next day. Also, I would encourage anyone with an interest in local government and questions about the work of a councillor, whatever age, to get in touch with me if they want to learn more.”

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