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Citizenship group receives high praise from Luton Borough Council

16 March 2009

A Year 10 Citizenship group needed to begin their coursework for a project that would enable them to understand the various ways in which a citizen can attempt to effect change in society and therefore become an active citizen.

As a whole, the class voted for a particular topic and decided on Youth Crime. The class then split into groups to look at the issues associated with youth crime and one of the groups chose to focus on graffiti in the Luton area.

The group felt that it is an issue due to the amount of graffiti everywhere but they realised that graffiti can also be perceived as art and that perhaps if graffiti artists had somewhere specific to express their talents such as a dedicated graffiti wall then it would be more positively viewed by the local community and may also help reduce some of the illegal and unwelcome graffiti.

The group then decided to put together a questionnaire and surveyed their fellow students to see whether they thought that it was a good idea and found that the other pupils agreed with them.

They then wrote a proposal to Luton Borough Council explaining the findings from their survey and proposing a dedicated graffiti wall for Luton. The council has replied with a letter that commends the boys for their hard work.

Within the letter the council said:

What is particularly commendable is that a group of young people have chosen to raise the matter for discussion, and with a view to bringing about a positive solution that will benefit the whole town.

Although we have to be clear about where graffiti is not wanted, your idea of a dedicated graffiti wall is one that I would very much like to investigate further as I think it represents a new approach that could be effective if carried out appropriately. We would have to consider the location of the wall carefully but by working with you, I think that we stand a good chance of determining whether such a solution is possible.

On Tuesday 24th February members of the Councils Street Services Team came to meet with the students to discuss their ideas further.

Denbigh High School teacher, Kirsten Short said: I am extremely proud of the group for demonstrating initiative and key citizenship skills by developing their awareness and understanding of their roles within school and their local community. The group has tackled a potentially divisive issue in a thoughtful and creative manner, suggesting a positive compromise for the community.

Denbigh High School Associate Principle, Daniel Connor said: These types of activities are a good way for our students to learn about the importance of being a responsible member of the community and how we should try to work together to find solutions to some of the more negative aspects of society. We would like to thank Luton Borough Council for being open to the views of our students and the genuine support that they have shown in trying to find a positive solution to this problem.