Renfrewshire secondary school pupils have had the opportunity to lean more and make their views known on the issues surrounding the independence referendum.

Johnstone High has staged the first of four hustings meetings for pupils across Renfrewshire who will be eligible to vote in the referendum on September 18.

Similar hustings events will be staged in Paisley, Erskine and Renfrew over the next few weeks.

The meetings are being arranged by Renfrewshire Council.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of the Council’s Education Policy Board, said: “These debates are part of a wide-ranging programme which includes a registration drive for newly-eligible voters, and curriculum development linked to issues involved in subjects such as modern studies and political literacy.

“There’s been a very positive response so far and we are looking to build on that work in the coming months.”

For the first event, Johnstone High pupils were joined by their counterparts from St Benedict’s High, Linwood, and Linwood High.

Pupils and teachers at election hustings

Representatives from the Yes campaign and the Better Together campaigns set the scene by outlining their respective views before pupils joined in a lively and informative debate lasting over an hour.

The debate was chaired by Walter Hayburn, head teacher of Johnstone High.

Among the topics covered were EU membership, the fate of the pound, the costs of an independent Scotland, the retention and attraction of businesses, and would independence be good for working-class Scots.

Two Johnstone High S5 Modern studies pupils summed up the debate as ‘insightful and challenging.’

Rachel MacColl said: “The debate was really enjoyable and very worthwhile. It was interesting and has helped our studies as well.

Ainsley Miller said: “Learning more about and discussing the different views has helped us understand some of the more complex issues in the referendum debate.”

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News