On the 1st of March 2022, seven Members of Children’s Parliament (MCPs) met with First Minister and the Scottish Cabinet to discuss three key issues impacting the children of Scotland. You can find out everything that was discussed at the meeting here: https://www.childrensparliament.org.uk/cabinettakeover2022/ 

Katie Logie, Project Worker for Children’s Voices, spent some time with the MCPs after the meeting to reflect on the process and how they felt about their incredible achievements. In this blog, titled “It’s never been more important to listen to children than now”, a quote from one of the MCPs who attended the meeting, Katie reflects on the children’s thoughts.

The Cabinet team reflect on their experience via Zoom.

Our children’s human rights defenders have the incredible opportunity to meet with Scottish Cabinet members every year, sharing their views and ideas on key issues representing children across Scotland. As a step towards implementing the UNCRC, this meeting gives children the opportunity to be listened to and taken seriously by top decision-makers in Scotland – a unique experience as this is the only known event of its kind worldwide. This year, the children raised gender equality, children’s mental health and wellbeing, and adults realising children’s rights as key issues with the Cabinet team.

The children are eagerly anticipating the Cabinet’s response to their wonderful presentations, and in the meantime, we spent time reflecting on the meeting itself. This year, we decided to shake things up a bit and turn the reflections into a game, or rather, a scavenger hunt! I asked the MCPs to find objects to answer questions relating to the Cabinet meeting, and they certainly got creative.

Find something that sums up how you felt after the Cabinet meeting…

Michael found a metal bookend to describe how he felt immediately after the Cabinet meeting. He shared “because I felt stressed and tired, and I think this would be tired from holding a ton of heavy books.” We all agreed that when something exciting, and a bit scary happens, it can be really tiring!

– Michael, age 10, Clackmannanshire 

Harry found a book called ‘All the Things Can Go Wrong’ – and this made everyone laugh! Harry felt nervous during the meeting that something would go wrong, but he agreed that after the meeting he felt relieved as it all went to plan!

– Harry, age 10, Clackmannanshire

Waldah found two different books and used the faces of the characters to describe her feelings. Before the meeting, she was feeling nervous! Afterwards, however, Waldah shared that she was “relieved.”  

– Waldah, age 11, Clackmannanshire  

Sam found a small wooden heart with the words ‘thank you’ on it. He shared “I chose this not because of the shape but because it says thank you, and I just wanted to say thank you for helping us to do it.”

– Sam, age 11, Western Isles 

Chiara found a small suitcase tin. She shared that “I felt relieved like you do when you come back from holiday, and you unpack your suitcase.”

– Chiara, age 12, Western Isles

If you could change one thing about the meeting, what would it be?  

Michael found a green, dirty looking pretend fish tank in his classroom. He explained “it looks boring but when you turn it on the mould starts to go and the fishes come out and it gets more fun. I wanted it to be more fun.”  

– Michael, age 10, Clackmannanshire  

Sam took a different angle to this question, and shared “I didn’t find anything because I thought it went perfect!” When we asked Sam to explain this point further, he highlighted that from what the MCPs delivered – the meeting was perfect! Sam did, however, agree that the meeting could have been more fun.  

– Sam, age 11, Western Isles  

We then asked the MCPs one final question, but they had to draw their answer with the paper on their head! This technique always has hilarious results, but the reflections from the MCPs were lovely.  

Finally, what was your favourite moment of the Cabinet process?  

Sam shared that he “tried to do meeting all of us for the first time.”  

– Sam, age 11, Western Isles 

Michael shared his highlight was “When we finished. It’s someone saying something at the end.” This made us all laugh, and we agreed that it was a big relief when we finished!  

– Michael, age 10, Clackmannanshire  

Harry’s favourite moment was “when Nichola Sturgeon said well done to everyone!” 

– Harry, age 10, Clackmannanshire  

Chiara noted her highlight was “supposed to be when we finished the meeting, after all the ministers left and it was just us chatting.” 

– Chiara, age 12, Western Isles 

Waldah’s favourite moment was “When we were making the ideas for the speeches.” 

– Waldah, age 11, Clackmannanshire  

I think it’s clear that despite the important people these MCPs have met, and the incredible achievements they have pulled off since the start of 2022, that the relationships formed between them has been the highlight for them all. It’s definitely been my favourite part!  

Sadly, Rida and Tate couldn’t join us for this reflection session, but I am going to leave you with Rida’s wonderful words from when we caught up with her after:  

“I hope that this meeting will listen to all of us and make sure that they have made a difference about adults respecting children, mental health and wellbeing in schools and gender equality in schools.”  

– Rida, age 11, Aberdeen 

"I feel proud" - Michael, age 10. And other quotes from the children.

Each year, Members of Children’s Parliament work to create a document of their ideas and experiences to share with the Cabinet. When the children share this document with Cabinet, they can then talk about the themes that they have identified. Click to view their Key Messages to Cabinet Poster 2022

2022 saw the 6th Scottish Cabinet Meeting with Children and Young People. To find out more about what happened in previous meetings, visit the links below: 

2021: https://www.childrensparliament.org.uk/our-work/cabinettakeover-2021/  
2020: https://www.childrensparliament.org.uk/our-work/cabinettakeover-2020/ 
2019: https://www.childrensparliament.org.uk/childrens-voices-and-the-scottish-cabinet-2019/ 
2018: https://www.childrensparliament.org.uk/cabinet-meeting-2018/  
2017: https://www.childrensparliament.org.uk/scottish-cabinet-2017/ 

“It’s never been more important to listen to children than now.”