I WELCOME the recent exciting proposals from the Welsh Labour Government to reform electoral arrangements in local government.

It is hoped that, in future, these proposals will be replicated for the National Assembly.

The headlines were devoted to the proposal to lower the voting age at county council elections to 16 years.

This mirrors the move in Scotland.

I fully support this move but integral to this is the promise that within schools the Active Citizenship theme of Personal and Social Education will provide young people with an understanding of politics and the right to vote.

I have long believed that whilst we do not want partisan views taught in schools civic education is vital for any democracy.

Welsh children should be taught how democracy works, the institutions of democracy and how laws are made.

Whilst voting on a Thursday in a polling station with a stubby pencil has been the traditional way of voting, along with the option of postal voting the proposals seek to pilot new ways of voting.

These include electronic voting and counting, voting at different places like supermarkets and voting on different days.

The Electoral Commission would need to assess any pilots before widespread reform but it is right in 2018 that we use this opportunity to fully examine how we can make participation in the electoral process accessible to more of our citizens.

I was delighted that more than 150 people attended the first ever Welsh Rubik’s Cube Championships that was held in Oakdale Primary School Rhiw Syr Dafydd.

Well done to Steven Potter, one of the teachers who works with pupils on maths and problem solving at the school, who helped the event take place.

It is efforts like this from teachers like Mr Potter, above and beyond the demanding contractual workload they already have, that elevates Welsh education and the lives of children.

Eighty competitors took part from schools across the United Kingdom and further afield.

I want to place on record my praise for a young Islwyn hero.

Islwyn High School pupil Rhys Price saved the life of fellow Islwyn High school pupil, 11-year-old Imogen Adams.

Rhys, from Cross Keys, performed the Heimlich manoeuvre using his first aid skills learnt with St. John Cymru.

It shows the value of learning lifesaving skills. Imogen has been so inspired by Rhys’ example that she has now joined her local St. John Cymru Wales division.

Well done both.

Islwyn constituents can get in touch with me at 208 High Street, Blackwood, NP12 1AJ, 01495 225161 or via Rhianon.Passmore@assembly.wales