School Council Presentations Impress City Planners and Councillor for Education

 At the annual School Council Conference on Friday, student representatives from secondary schools in the area were given the opportunity to share their ideas on how to improve and enhance the Embankment to three representatives from the Council Planning Department and Cllr John Holdich, Cabinet member for Education, Skills and University.

 Following talks the Student Council had with the planners on their visit to the Council offices in March, the students received information including maps, images and some initial ideas from Peterborough City Council.  Student Council representatives from Stanground Academy, The Kings School, Voyager Academy and Jack Hunt School had a month to research and develop on concepts and ideas to improve the Embankment area in line with development plans for Peterborough, which they turned into ten minute presentations for the Conference.

 All the schools agreed that much of the Embankment should remain an open site, but some covered areas for shade should be installed, so large events such as festivals and concerts can still be held there.  It was also suggested that a multi-cultural food and music festival similar to Notting Hill Carnival and a Christmas Market like twin towns Bourges in France or Viersen in Gemany should be held.  Other more permanent ideas submitted by the schools included a Cycle Hire Shop and improving the cycle links to the Embankment and other historical areas around the city such as Flag Fen for families to enjoy. There was a general concern about the lack of facilities for older children and young people so the students felt that a large skateboard park, adventure park and grafitti area would all provide entertainment and places for young people to meet and socialise, especially with the provision of cafes or restaurants.

 Other ideas submitted included creating a nature park for families to enjoy and horse riding facilities similar to Ferry Meadows.   One radical proposal was a Technology centre which would enable visitors to try out new technology and concepts and see new technology in action.

The main message from the students that whatever the Council decides to do with the space and whatever events are planned there – they should be better promoted and advertised around the city to encourage more visitors to the area.

The planners and Councillor Holdich were very impressed by the quality of the presentations , finding them to be very thoughtful, mature and well researched.  Councillor Holdich said “There were some brilliant ideas, many of which are not hugely expensive and fit well with existing plans for the Green Wheel.” Adding, that he would like to come back and work with Jack Hunt students on their ideas for a family cycle route and cycle hire on the Embankment.  Jim Daley, from the Planning department commented “The ideas were well thought through, practical and not necessarily hugely expensive.   There were some excellent ideas for an underused part of the city and creating reasons for people to be there.  It was really good to see the students had picked up on the positives of the Embankment and their ideas enhanced the space there.”

The Student Council members also took part in a number of workshops on other topics including changes made at KS3 and KS4 levels, new technologies that could be used to facilitate Student Councils and a wish list if the councils were granted a £1 millions for their school.  These are all ideas the students are going away to develop. 

The students were very positive in their feedback on the event with over 52% saying the conference exceeded their expectations and 85% thought the venue was excellent.