The month of November saw UK Parliament Week celebrated in schools across the country. UK Parliament Week is an annual festival that engages people from across the UK with Parliament, explores what it means to them and empowers them to get involved. In school we used this as a great opportunity to further explore ideas of citizenship, democracy and parliamentary heritage! We kicked off our celebration with a Year 1 and 2 class trip to the Houses of Parliament. We were lucky enough to go on a private tour of many of the Parliament buildings, entering both the House of Lords and the House of Commons and Westminster Hall, the last remaining part of the original Palace to remain intact. Year 1/2 learnt all about the different emblems seen around the Houses of Parliament such as the lion to represent England, the unicorn for Scotland and the crowned portcullis to represent Parliament itself! We even got to glimpse the throne used by the monarch when they open Parliament in May every year. Our workshop focussed on the rebuilding of Parliament after the fire of 1834 and the plucky heroics of Chance the dog, mascot of the fire brigade. We discovered who won the competition to design and rebuild the new Houses of Parliament and even had the opportunity to create our own Parliament tile design inspired by architect Augustus Pugin. The class even got to meet our local MP for Finchley and Golders Green, Mike Freer.
Back at school, Year 3 explored the concept of law and why having laws in society is important. They debated the purpose of laws in our school context, thinking about what school life would be like if we didn’t have particular rules to follow. Year 1 and 2 had great fun taking part in a quiz all about Parliament and democracy. Do you know what the name of the largest bell in the clock tower is called?
To celebrate Parliament Week, Year 4 girls investigated how proposals for new laws are debated in Parliament. The girls learnt that a motion is the statement that gives the topic for the debate. They debated the motion ‘Children should leave school and get a job when they are 12 years old.’ This raised some interesting points of view which the children debated enthusiastically, with the help of a speaker to keep order! Later on in the month, Year 3 and 4 had the chance to visit Parliament as well! They were greeted by Emily who gave them a very insightful tour of the Palace of Westminster, including the House of Lords, Central Lobby and Westminster Hall which is the last remaining part of the original Palace of Westminster. Unfortunately, they were unable to visit the House of Commons as it was being prepared for Prime Minister’s Questions! Nevertheless, they enjoyed every minute of the tour. A highlight was Westminster Hall which has hosted many important speakers such as the Queen, Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela!
We look forward to exploring democracy further in our own school throughout the year with our newly elected School Council members including our Reception representative!