Year 8 students discuss wellbeing with local decision-makers through The Politics Project and #BeeWell

Date published: 12 July 2022

Year eight students from two Rochdale secondary schools, Falinge Park High School and Beech House School, have taken part in the Digital Dialogue: #BeeWell sessions.

#BeeWell is a £2m collaboration between the University of Manchester, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and its constituent 10 Local Authorities, the Anna Freud Centre, and The Gregson Family Foundation.

The programme measures young people’s wellbeing on an annual basis and aims to make young people’s wellbeing everybody’s business.

The ‘Digital Dialogue’ sessions are hosted by the non-partisan, democracy, and education organisation, The Politics Project, who brought their vast experience in facilitating political education work across the UK to the session.

In the hour-long session on 4 July, students were invited to give a presentation on the areas of the #BeeWell wellbeing survey data that stood out to them the most.

The students from Beech House School identified loneliness as one of the key areas that they would like to tackle, they gave a comprehensive presentation on an idea of an app to help with wellbeing. The idea is that the app would be safe for everyone to use and that removes some of the more dangerous aspects of social media.

The students from Falinge Park High School highlighted three main solutions to help with wellbeing in their presentation: promoting healthy eating, encouraging physical activity, and investing in youth clubs and services.

Councillor Rachel Massey spoke to the children about the Urban Kitchen that she is working on, and also offered to send the school the existing recipe cards to help with healthy and affordable meal prep.

Councillor Massey, Lead Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services and Education, said: "It was a great start to my day listening to the voices of our young people to address their well-being concerns.

"It is most interesting discussing what changes we can support them with locally and how we can work together to make improvements for our borough’s young people."

Gillian Barratt, Head of Schools for Rochdale Council, invited the students to attend a session at the council to provide further ideas and feedback directly to her council colleagues.

All ideas and actions will be followed up by The Politics Project and #BeeWell to ensure that actions come from the discussions.

Sahar, one of the Beech House students, said: "This project has educated me in many areas such as mental health and politics and how they can have a massive impact in our lives.

"We have researched many problems in the borough and have tried to come up with different possible solutions and the downsides of them and we eventually concluded to a final idea as a team. I think this project has not only been educational but has also helped to build team working skills which could help us all in our futures. Overall I have found this experience very enjoyable and informative."

Maddie Fitzpatrick, Subject Lead for Citizenship/PSHE at Falinge Park School, said: "It’s fantastic that young people are given an opportunity to suggest changes that will make their wellbeing better. The pupils really felt like they had been heard which is so important in engaging young people in their local communities. It gives the students more confidence to speak up in the future and engage in civic life."

The #BeeWell survey was delivered to more than 160 schools in Autumn 2021, receiving almost 40,000 responses from young people in Years 8 and 10. One of the key parts of these dialogue sessions will be for young people, schools, and councils to make pledges to each other as a way to directly respond to the findings in the #BeeWell survey.

Do you have a story for us?

Let us know by emailing
All contact will be treated in confidence.

To contact the Rochdale Online news desk, email or visit our news submission page.

To get the latest news on your desktop or mobile, follow Rochdale Online on Twitter and Facebook.

While you are here...

...we have a small favour to ask; would you support Rochdale Online and join other residents making a contribution, from just £3 per month?

Rochdale Online offers completely independent local journalism with free access. If you enjoy the independent news and other free services we offer (event listings and free community websites for example), please consider supporting us financially and help Rochdale Online to continue to provide local engaging content for years to come. Thank you.

Support Rochdale Online