Highbury special needs school celebrates after two students elected to Islington Youth Council for first time

Youth council members with councill leader Richard Watts and mayor Cllr Rakhia Ismail.

Youth council members with councill leader Richard Watts and mayor Cllr Rakhia Ismail. - Credit: Archant

A special needs school in Highbury is celebrating after two of its students were voted onto the Islington Youth Council for the first time.

Samuel Rhodes School, in Highbury New Park, will have two representatives out of the 14 successful candidates through Catherine Browne and Husen Abdullahi respectively. The pair will stand for two years to ensure the voices of students with learning difficulties are represented.

The school has three departments; primary, secondary and sixth form and ages range from five to 19.

This year's vote, which is open to young people who live or go to school in the borough aged 11 to 17, had a record turnout of 43.5% and the turnout in schools reaching 51.2%.

Thirty-nine candidates stood for the election, which was also a record.

Outgoing young mayor Lydia Banjo said: "It has opened up so many opportunities that wouldn't have been open to me. I wish the young mayor and youth councillors good luck and say to them to have fun and enjoy it!"

Islington Council's children's chief Kaya Comer-Schwartz said: "I am delighted to see so many young people put themselves forward to represent their peers on issues that matter to them, and I am equally pleased to see such a strong turnout.

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"This has been an exciting election for everyone involved. I look forward to working with the new Youth Council during the next two years."

Young people cast their votes on February 3 at Lift and Platform Youth Hubs and the successful candidates were announced the following day at the Islington Assembly Hall.

It was also the third election that candidate Honey Baker has successfully stood. She was first elected in 2016 and was chosen to be young mayor in 2018.

She said she was "so happy to be elected again."

This year was the first time that Islington's new school the London Screen Academy, which opened in September 2019, took part in the election.

The brand new sixth form academy, founded by some of the UK's most successful film producers, had one candidate standing.