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Danish prime minister’s lessons on democracy

14 February, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

Prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt with Duncombe primary pupils

THE first female prime minister of Denmark spoke to primary school pupils in Islington about the importance of democracy this week.

Helle Thorning-Schmidt attended an assembly at Duncombe Primary School on Tuesday where members of the school’s council were starting their first day in their positions.

Ms Thorning-Schmidt, who became the first female prime minister of Demark in 2011, told scores of children about how “compassion and democracy” go hand in hand.

Irfan Aktunc, who is in Year 4 at the Sussex Way school in Upper Holloway, said: “She was really amazing. I learnt that Denmark invented Legoland.”

Pupil Yunis Munis said: “It was amazing to hear from her. She had a very nice personality. I learnt that you should always be nice to each other and always listen to others because you never know how their ideas could change your thinking.”

Both pupils are new members of the school council who were all given their council badges by Ms Thorning-Schmidt.

“This was a very positive thing for me to see,” Ms Thorning-Schmidt said. “You have a very nice school assembly.

“Everyone wants to discuss values, democracy, friendship, kindness and they had really good input when I asked them what is children’s rights.

“I strongly believe in schools councils and children’s democracy and I could see that these children were very proud.”

Headteacher Helen Ryan, who took over from long-running head Barrie O’Shea last summer, said: “It’s really important to me that we develop pupils’ voice in Duncombe and school council is the first step.

“We are starting our parental forums after half term. We want to get the whole community engaged in defining what it means to be a Duncombe pupil.”


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