On Wednesday 6 November, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched the Conservative Party's General Election campaign, 26 pupils who study GCSE Citizenship made the journey into Westminster for an immersive day of activities, which provided insights into both past and present UK politics.
First off was a visit to the Supreme Court, where pupils had the chance to sit in on a complex appeals court case involving data protection. This sparked some lively debate amongst the pupils over the ethics of confidentiality that continued as they walked down Whitehall and past the Cenotaph. Security around 10 Downing Street was tight, and it was exciting to see the Press linger outside the famous front door. Perhaps even more exciting was walking past the Horse Guards Parade and experiencing – first hand (!) – just how loudly the inscrutable guards can shout….
Following lunch in bustling Trafalgar Square, pupils made their way back down towards the Houses of Parliament, taking time to admire the vast amounts of scaffolding still constructed around Big Ben. Owing to the upcoming General Election, the halls of Parliament were eerily quiet; under the watchful eye of Queen Victoria’s statue, pupils learned some details about the history of UK politics before entering the ornate House of Lords. Being able to see (but not sit on!) the rows of green benches in the House of Commons roused the spirit of democracy in some, which later proved useful in the workshop they undertook on the forming of Laws.
Head of Citizenship, Viv Lamb, said: “This trip has been particularly special as, because Parliament has been dissolved, our pupils were able to look really closely at the magnificent surroundings within the Houses of Parliament. Similarly, they were able to ask all of their wide-ranging questions without interrupting any proceedings. This trip is always popular and, now more than ever, relevant not just to their studies but to their day-to-day-lives.”