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17 May, 2006

Young Holyrood winners announced in Youth Parliament Competition

Montrose Academy was today declared the Winner of this year’s Holyrood model National Youth Parliament Competition organsed by the Citizenship Foundation and sponsored by Norwich Union.

The winning school beat teams from across Scotland to be awarded the top prize: the chance to attend a reception hosted by the First Minister at Holyrood in June.

Montrose debated a Bill to revise the sentencing procedures to facilitate the rehabilitation of prisoners back into society.

In the competition, teams of 12–18 year olds recreate the Scottish parliamentary chamber in their school, youth group or a local council chamber. Taking the roles of Executive, Opposition and 'backbench' MSPs, they make a 20-minute video of their debate on a mock Bill about a devolved issue.

In addition to winning the best team prize, Montrose’s Matthew Valentine also picked up a special award for the “Best Non-Executive spokesperson” for his role in the debate.

The final was judged by Fiona Hyslop MSP, Lord James Douglas Hamilton MSP, Christine Grahame MSP and Ruth Connelly (from the Scottish Parliament Broadcasting Unit). Judges commended the high overall standard of Montrose’s entry, in particular their detailed research of the topic, understanding of the procedure and delivery of the debate.

Through the competition students have the chance to address topical issues such as smoking in public places, the responsible air travel bill, and banning chewing gum in Scotland, encouraging political engagement, as well as developing key skills such as communication, enquiry, participation and responsibility.

Tony Breslin, Chief executive of the Citizenship Foundation said “healthy democracies need well-informed citizens who understand the democratic process and have the skills and confidence to participate. The competition helps bring this to life. This active learning competition gives young people the opportunity to debate issues that are fundamental to their everyday lives.”

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