Council chiefs were quizzed by Irvine pupils last week as North Ayrshire held the first broadcast meeting of its regular Joint Youth Cabinet.

The meeting, held at Greenwood Academy, was the latest in a series of joint meetings involving NAC’s Cabinet, senior officers, Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament and the Youth Council Executive.

Pupils questioned the council on a range of topics, including how it was addressing its struggle to recruit new teachers.

Education head of service Andrew McClelland said: “You’re absolutely right we are struggling to recruit teachers particularly in certain subject areas. To address that we have been working with our partner universities to promote the teachers probationary programme, leading to us getting allocated a good number of probationary teachers.

“This year coming we will be engaging 58 probationers across our secondary schools and that is more than double the number we had last year.”

Pupils also questioned NAC on mental health, and asked why support councillors weren’t known about in schools before the tragic deaths of North Ayrshire pupils last year.

Council Leader Joe Cullinane said: “Unfortunately some of the tragic circumstances we’ve had over the last year occurred when the councillors were starting and one of the things that Andrew [McClelland] and the education team had done at that point was to pull that resource together so that’s probably why you weren’t aware of it until that happened.”

Pupils also quizzed police on the use of stop and search powers, and whether young people were unfairly targeted.

Inspector Jim McMillan said: “We will not discriminate against any young people or adult. Unfortunately there are children out there who do carry out acts of crime and violence and we want to make sure people can go about there lives freely.”

The meetings are held regularly in venues throughout North Ayrshire allows pupils to learn more about how their local authority works and give local young people a voice.