NICOLA STURGEON is to take part in a Question Time session with a difference after Holyrood returns, when she is quizzed by children and young people.
The SNP leader is regularly questioned by opposition leaders at the Scottish Parliament and backbenchers at First Minister’s Questions.
She will also be grilled by an audience of youngsters at a special event in Glasgow – with organisers hoping the First Minister’s Question Time (FMQT) Next Generation session can become a regular occurrence.
It is taking place on Wednesday September 12 as part of the Scottish Government’s Year of Young People.
Youngsters have been involved in drawing up the plans for the special question time session from the start.
The event is being organised by the charity Children in Scotland and the national agency for youth work, YouthLink Scotland, and it will be broadcast as part of STV’s current affairs programme Scotland Tonight the following evening.
Ms Sturgeon said: “As a government, we are committed to ensuring that children and young people are at the heart of decisions that affect them as set out in Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“It states that when adults are making decisions that affect children, children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinions taken into account.
“In this Year of Young People, and through this dedicated Question Time, I hope to offer a platform for children and young people to bring those opinions directly to me.”
Organisers are currently looking for 100 children and young people to make up the audience for the event, with those who are interested urged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Children in Scotland chief executive Jackie Brock said: “Our vision is for a dedicated First Minister’s Question Time for children and young people that will become part of the landscape of children and young people’s participation for years to come – whatever party is in power and whoever is First Minister.
“Younger children, those living in rural areas, who are less confident, or who have additional support needs, can often be overlooked.
“Projects such as this are a vital means of changing that, creating outlets where the diverse voices of children are given profile and attention.”
YouthLink Scotland CEO Jim Sweeney said: “Young people involved in this project have been really passionate and clear about the need for them to have their voice heard.
“We want to engage with all political parties and institutions at all levels to increase children’s participation in those decisions that will affect their future.
“We’re all excited for the event in September and pleased Nicola Sturgeon has agreed to kickstart this.”
Nathan Tyler, head of news and current affairs for STV, said: “We’re really excited to be working in partnership with Children in Scotland, YouthLink Scotland and the design team to give all those involved as loud a voice as possible and ensure that future viewers and voters in schools and youth groups across the country can watch the first of these landmark events.”