On Thursday February 16th Professor Tamsin Mather from Oxford University Department of Earth Sciences travelled to Packmoor Ormiston Academy in Stoke-on-Trent to help launch the Primary school platform of VotesforSchools, with a live debate followed by a vote on the question: “Do we have enough female scientists and engineers?”
During the debate, Tamsin answered questions put to her by the pupils of Packmoor Ormiston Academy, and talked about her career in science, and her research on volcanoes. Commenting on the event, Tamsin said: “I aim to teach my students to be critical thinkers ready to form their own well-reasoned opinions based on the evidence. Schools play a vital role in the development of these skills. VotesforSchools offers fantastic opportunities to make students from primary level onwards feel like empowered thinkers, as well as allowing efficient use of teacher time and resources.’
VotesforSchools is an education programme with an online voting platform, which empowers children as young as five to engage with diverse topics ranging from driverless cars to celebrity involvement in politics.
Mrs Sharon May, Principal at Packmoor Ormiston Academy said: “The children have really enjoyed debating the issues from the news; they really have learned such a lot about current affairs through the VotesforSchools program.”
A multi-media resource pack specially designed for Primary age children helps them develop informed decision-making skills, and encourages them to listen to their classmates, respect other people’s opinions and clearly communicate their own views. All these skills are vital to children’s on and off-line safety.
Vivienne Creevey CEO and co-founder of the platform commented: “I’m delighted we’re launching the primary version of VotesforSchools so that younger children will be able to join our voting platform. They will be able to develop vital skills of informed decision-making and begin to understand democratic practice in everyday life.”