It’s all about E.U! Leeds youngsters hold their own referendum...and show the grown-ups how it’s done

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‘Teach them well and let them lead the way’, so the song goes.

And for these youngsters at Bankside Primary School in Harehills, Leeds, the E.U referendum campaign has been providing plenty of food for thought in the past few weeks.

Bankside Primary School, Shepherds Lane, Harehill, Leeds, are holding their own EU Referendum. Pictured (Clockwise Bottom Centre) Yusuf Hussain, 9, Sumayya Ali, 11, Marzana Mollik, 11, Hohammed Fahad, 11, Mutasim Hoque, 11, and Sadiqah Khan, 7. Pictures: James Hardisty

Bankside Primary School, Shepherds Lane, Harehill, Leeds, are holding their own EU Referendum. Pictured (Clockwise Bottom Centre) Yusuf Hussain, 9, Sumayya Ali, 11, Marzana Mollik, 11, Hohammed Fahad, 11, Mutasim Hoque, 11, and Sadiqah Khan, 7. Pictures: James Hardisty

The school’s pupil council has been conducting its own EU referendum campaign, and learning about the importance of leadership, politics, using your vote - and the value of a good, clean fight.

On Monday, a few days before the grown-ups go to the polls to make decisions which will decide these youngsters’ futures, the school will hold its own referendum vote on whether the country should remain in the European Union or not.

The secret ballot boxes will be opened on Wednesday, on the eve of the actual European Union referendum.

The school’s referendum panel of six youngsters features three ‘remainers’ and three ‘leavers’ who have been holding a series of debates for their classmates.

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The tone of their debating, witnessed by the YEP yesterday, is in stark contrast to the shouty and doom-laden campaigns conducted by both the Brexit and Bremain camps over the last few weeks which have alienated many voters.

The youngsters all stated their cases calmly, listened to each other and informed their friends of the relative success of their arguments in swaying their view.

The energy with which the youngsters have taken to the debate is already having an effect - both inside and outside the school.

Marzana Mollik, 11, explained: “I told my friends and family. And my mum, after I told her, went to get registered to vote. I said that we have been learning about the E.U, and your vote is going to help.”

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Kauser Jan, assistant head teacher at Bankside Primary School, said: “They have been learning what the E. U is and what it means to be ‘in’ or ‘out’.

“The school council is leading lessons in their own classes, sharing information and empowering others - and that includes children and staff!

“The children have been inspired and motivated about learning about the E.U and what the referendum is about.

“And they have become really engaged in politics, and so passionate about the political process and what good citizenship is about.

“They are watching the news and want to know more about what’s going on, and they will come in in the morning and tell me about what the latest polls say after watching the news.

“The best thing is they have been educating their family and friends.”

“I think the Brexit and Bremain campaigns could definitely learn something from these children,” Ms Jan added.

“Our school’s ethos is that we listen to each other, and choose our words carefully.

“They have got to know that arguing and fighting is not the way, and if you want to be heard, you have to listen as well.”

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