School Councillor Visit To Meet The Mayor

Sat 16 Mar 2024 | 2023-24, Extra Curriculum, Latest News 2023 - 24, School Council

Article 29: You have the right to education which tries to develop your personality and abilities as much as possible and encourages you to respect other people’s rights and values and to respect the environment.

Article 12: You have the right to an opinion and for it to be listened to and taken seriously.

Our school councillors were very excited to visit the Mayor (Eileen McMaster) today, at the Civic Centre.

The purpose of the visit was to find out more about the role and responsibilities of a councillor and what it entails. We wanted to get an insight into what happens within Gateshead Council.

When we arrived we were taken to the Civic Suite , where we saw a bronze replica of the Angel of the North by Anthony Gormley.

We had refreshments and chatted with the Mayor in the “Mayor’s parlour.” We discussed our role in school, how we have been fundraising recently to buy new playground equipment after listening to the views of all of the pupils across school. Our councillors explained, as part of their role, how they are involved in projects in the local community as well as organising activities for local/national fundraising events.

We had lots of questions to ask the Mayor and we found out some interesting facts about the roles and responsibilities of the Mayor. For example, the Mayor of Gateshead is the first Citizen of the Borough, will serve for one year only and is elected by votes from fellow councillors. She works full time, usually has four meetings per week and full council meetings every six weeks.

We were able to look at the Mayor’s robes – these are worn on all ceremonial occasions, including full Council meetings and church services. They have special large pockets in the sleeves – a reminder of the olden days when it was the duty of the Mayor to collect the Borough’s taxes! Worn with the robes are a hat, a jabot and white gloves.

The Mayor explained that she always wears the “Chains of Office” when on official duty and those in use now have been worn by every Mayor in Gateshead since 1851…we worked out that’s 173 years!! The chains are made of 18 carat gold with a medallion bearing the coat of arms in the centre.

The Mayor’s Mace Bearer showed us how the mace is carried into the chamber for meetings of the council – in front of the Mayor carried over the Mace Bearer’s right shoulder, cross and orb pointing upwards.

After the visit to the Parlour, School Council then went into the Council Chamber and tried out the microphone system which was great fun. We pretended we were in a real Council meeting! We sat in the seats belonging to the Cabinet members. The Mayor explained about what happens during a meeting, who sits in the different parts of the chamber and about the voting system.

What a great photo opportunity!

What an amazing afternoon we’ve had! It’s been very exciting and very informative. We were also given the opportunity to sign the visitors book!

To follow up the visit, our councillors with share news of this visit during our whole school Rights Respecting assembly next week and will be writing thank you letters to the Mayor and Ken (Mace Bearer) who is very knowledgeable about the history of the Borough of Gateshead , when the seven local authorities in the area amalgamated and the Coat of Arms.