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Promises put to the vote

Young Scots are being asked to identify what issues they would like to make a priority over the next two years.

Kathleen Marshall, Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People, is today (Friday) launching a national consultation of young people up to the age of 21. Entitled "Keeping Promises", the survey asks youngsters to choose which one of seven priority areas they want her to concentrate on.

The title of the consultation has been chosen to reflect Professor Marshall's commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and to involving children and young people in the work of her office.

The seven priority areas emerged from an analysis of previous consultations with young people and 15 focus groups around Scotland. They are: safer streets, bullying, things to do, schools education, schoolshealth, transport and parents splitting up.

The responses from those who took part in the focus groups led the commissioner's office to identify the main actions that young people said would help. In the education category, they called for a wider choice of subjects, especially in vocational studies and art-based areas.

Young people also wanted more support for learning difficulties, easier access to educational maintenance allowances and improvements in guidance so it focuses on those that might need it most.

Stephen Bermingham, head of participation, said: "We hope to repeat this in two years' time and are looking for measurable outcomes which we can demonstrate in two years' time."

Young people will be able to vote in a number of ways and will have the chance to win a portable PlayStation, iPod or HMV voucher for taking part.

Learning and Teaching Scotland is supporting the consultation by sending out voting cards to all schools.

Voting can be done online at, by email to, by texting 07781 484 317, by calling the Young Person's Freephone (0800 019 1179) or by using a Freepost voting card.

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