Secondary school pupils in Torfaen recently took over at the council for a day.

14 students from Croesyceiliog School, Cwmbran High School and West Monmouth School swapped their classrooms for council chambers as part of the inaugural Young People's Take Over Day.

The youngsters assumed five key positions for the day: chief executive, deputy chief executive, children and families director, adult and communities director, and head of communications, engagement and civil contingencies.

Part of the day was spent poring over subjects including school attendance, the council's Raise the Rate campaign, behaviour issues, and drafting a series of actions.

The students used this opportunity to meet with the council's HR team, contributing towards shaping the council's work experience and apprenticeship programmes.

The students held a Policy Development Forum where they put forward recommendations to the council's cabinet members.

Student chief executive, Marcella from Croesyceiliog School, said: "I really enjoyed getting an insight and learning about what the council does.

"I feel we were listened to and our views were taken seriously."

Oliver, a Year 8 pupil from Cwmbran High School echoed these sentiments, expressing his enthusiasm for leadership in the future and reviewing the action points in September.

Chief executive Stephen Vickers found the exercise to be a valuable one.

He said: "It's been a pleasure to work alongside such a bright and engaging group of young people.

"It is vital we take young people’s views into account when we are making decisions and I hope this will become an annual event."

Cllr Richard Clark, executive member for children, families and education praised the students.

He said: "I would like to congratulate the young people who joined us today on being fantastic ambassadors for their schools and peers.

"I would like to invite young people to spend time with myself and my fellow cabinet members to get an insight into the political process."

After a successful day, the council, along with the children and young people’s participation and engagement officer, the Education Service and Youth Service, considered implementing similar initiatives in the future.

They also took feedback from the students on the day, and any prospective improvements to the concept.