Children from Otterton Primary School have had a first-hand look at how local democracy works, during a visit to East Devon District Council.

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Thirteen year six pupils visited the council’s headquarters at the Knowle in Sidmouth, where they took part in activities such as debating a pretend planning application, deciding how to spend a hypothetical £5,000 on community projects in Otterton, and even designing the perfect councillor.

Class teacher Deborah Evans said: “It’s been absolutely fantastic. Our purpose in coming here was to get an idea of how local councils work.

“We’re doing a project on democracy and so the debate was fantastic, as I’ve been teaching them about persuasive arguing, so that has been really useful for them.

“The debate about how to spend money locally has been brilliant as it ties in with projects they’re doing at school.

“I have to say the councillors have been amazing. They’ve been such good sports, dressing up and having a grilling from the children. The children will have got so much from it.”

Councillor Christine Drew, East Devon District Council’s member champion for youth, said: “We always learn a little something from these events, and I was really delighted to see so many happy young faces taking part in debates and activities.

“Days like this really bring local democracy alive, showing tomorrow’s voters lots of the important things it does.”

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