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  A young mayor
Updated 01 May 2002, 09.43

Citizenship 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Local government

Adam Gallagher has been voted in as Middlesbrough's new mini mayor. Young people between 11 and 17 in Middlesbrough have elected Britain's first "young mayor" who'll make decisions on local issues that affect young people.

Students design and make a manifesto in the form of a poster to show what they would do with a budget of 20,000 to help improve their local area.

Learning aims

  • Learn the term 'manifesto' and its purpose.

  • Design and create a poster that informs about their intentions to improve the locality.
Read the story

Ask the class:

  • How effective will a "young mayor" be in providing a voice for young people?

  • What would you ask them to do to improve your local area?

  • Who would you nominate for the job?

Main activity
Fact File
Manifesto - a public declaration of principles, policies or intentions
Ask students for their definition of a 'manifesto'.

Students design and create an election poster with images and text that demonstrates why they should become their local "young mayor".

They should remember the following:

  • Their poster needs to stand out from the rest.

  • Include a photograph or illustration so that people will know who to vote for.

  • Add a catchy slogan, it will stick in people's minds.

  • Leave space around the edges of the manifesto for banners. These can be used to carry slogans or small pictures/logos. They are attractive and in some cases may be all that a potential voter will look at.

  • Use plenty of bullet points. They break up the text and people like sound bites. It's unlikely they will read everything written in your manifesto.

Issues you may want students to consider:

  • Youth clubs
  • Safer streets
  • Vandalism
  • Local parks and open spaces
  • Developing local talent
  • Local entertainments

Extension activity
Write letters to the local council encouraging them to follow Middlesbrough council's lead in running an election for a "young mayor".

Recap on the main teaching points.

The class provide constructive feedback on the designs and policies implemented.

Which areas for improvement are agreed on by most students?

Teachers' Background

  • All pupils, aged 11 to 17 years, who attend a Middlesbrough school are eligible to vote and stand for the election.

  • Nominations for the post opened on 26 March and closed on Wednesday 10 April.

  • A postal ballot was held to choose the young mayor.

  • Organisers hope the Middlesbrough young person's poll - which will preceded the mayoral elections on 2 May - will get young people more involved in public affairs.

  • Last year's general election saw turnout fall to its lowest level since 1918 with just 59% of eligible voters bothering to take part. That figure slumped to 39% among younger voters.

  • Electoral Commission Chairman Sam Younger: "There are new registration and postal voting procedures in place and other methods such as SMS (text messaging) and electronic voting will be trialled this May during the local elections."

For all links and resources click at top right.

More InfoBORDER=0
UKManifestos from Middlesbrough
UKAdam's the first 'mini mayor'
UKAdam: 'I'll stick to my pledges'


BBC Links
BBCi Schools: Active citizenship


Web Links
Middlesbrough Council
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