CHILDREN from St Mary’s Primary School in Bentworth joined more than 400 schoolchildren from across the district given a taste of local government when they visited Penns Place in Petersfield for a tour of the East Hampshire District Council offices.

The youngsters were shown around the building and given an insight into how the council delivers more than 100 services per day to 115,000 people in the district.

They came from The Butts Primary School in Alton, Four Marks Primary, St Mary’s Primary at Bentworth, primary schools at Steep, Buriton, Woodlea and Grayshott, Liphook Junior School, Herne Junior School at Petersfield, St Matthew’s Primary at Blackmoor, and The Holme Primary School at Headley.

The visits were part of National Takeover Day, which sees organisations across the country open their doors to young people to hear their views and give them a glimpse of the world of work.

While at Penns Place, the pupils also spoke to councillors about issues facing their communities and held their own debate in the council chamber on topics ranging from school uniforms to banning Russian athletes from the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Bramshott and Liphook district councillor Bill Mouland, who met the children with fellow ward councillor Angela Glass, said: “They were a credit to their schools, took a keen interest in their community and gave us a good grilling on improvements that could be made. They then held a very well organised and controlled debate about school uniform in which just about everyone took part. On the tour of the offices they were interested and engaged and brought a smile to everyone’s faces.”

East Hampshire MP Damian Hinds joined the children of Bentworth Primary School on their tour of Penns Place.

He said: “We had a fascinating chat about local democracy and I was delighted to see the children were really interested in the subject. At that age they are all so full of enthusiasm. They all want to change the world!

“They asked a lot of probing questions about how government works and were happy to be challenged with a few questions themselves. It was a really engaging and rewarding experience.”