PSHCE: Year 7 Trip to the Houses of Parliament

Main Group

Despite such an early start, Year 7 were surprisingly full of beans and looking forward to their day ahead in London and their visit to the Houses of Parliament.

The sun shone and the traffic flowed freely, enabling time for a stroll along the embankment outside Portcullis House before our tours commenced.

Once inside Portcullis House we were greeted by very friendly and welcoming Parliament Education guides. The children visited The House of Commons and the House of Lords. The stark differences in the two chambers were identifiable straight away, with red carpets and grand staircases leading up to the Strangers Gallery in the House of Lords , as opposed to the narrow dark passageway to the public gallery of the House of Commons.

Whispers flew round the Strangers Gallery when all were seated, as Lord Sugar had been spotted in the chamber below. He is a regular attendee to the House and was engaged in a debate about onshore wind turbines. The children were surprised by the friendly banter that was evident in the debate.

After visiting the two houses, the children attended a workshop on elections. They had to decide what their party's manifesto would be. The children made sound choices for this. A popular choice was more Fairtrade items in supermarkets.  Another was that anyone committing a crime should be made to do Community Service. We all then voted and the successful candidates (MPs) were announced. They were Mrs Brown, Amelia Doxey, Dan Peppe, Ariana Dowse, Will Griffiths and Alastair Orr. Out of these MPs, Alastair Orr was voted Prime Minister. At this point Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne was able to see Alastair in his new role as Prime Minister! Stephen Lloyd then addressed the group and held an interesting question and answer session with them.

With our tour and workshop over, a visit to the Parliament bookshop was uppermost in the pupils' minds, for purchasing souvenirs! This was followed by a brisk walk to St James' Park for a picnic lunch, making the most of the glorious weather and then onto our coach and back to school. Everyone enjoyed the day and thanks to the brilliant tour guides, workshop leaders and Stephen Lloyd MP the children learnt a great deal about the Houses of Parliament and general elections.

Annie Fuller

Head of PSHCE

Group 2