Politics, History, Economics and Law students and staff from Bede Sixth Form College have been down to London for a trip to the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.
As part of their visit they enjoyed a tour behind the scenes of the Palace of Westminster, following in the footsteps the Queen herself took last month for the State Opening of Parliament. However, unlike Her Majesty, our students were allowed to enter the House of Commons, as well as the House of Lords. Our students were surprised to hear that the Queen was not allowed to enter the Commons Chamber, and were very amused by the idea that for her to get in to Parliament at all, there is a tradition that first of all the door is shut in her face, before she is eventually allowed in!
The students were fascinated by the tradition of ‘the division’, and the fact that MPs vote by leaving their seats in the Chamber and then returning via two different lobbies, one for ‘Yes’ and other for ‘No’. They had a chance to sit in one of the lobbies themselves and learn how crowded they have been for key parliamentary votes. The group also discovered that Parliament is something like a small village, with everyone knowing everybody else and working together in a very small and crowded environment, including a dining room, bars, and even a hair salon.
Parliament was devoid of MPs as they are all in their constituencies, and the importance of voting and democracy was somehow emphasised by the fact that the MPs were nowhere in evidence.
Hannah, who studies English Literature, Government & Politics and History, said: “The trip gave me a real insight into politics and how the government works, it was engaging and informative and I really enjoyed it.”
Following the behind the scenes tour, the students attended a workshop on electoral systems and alternative means of voting, enhancing their knowledge of the topic, particularly at this location, and at this time of electioneering.
James, currently studying Business, Geography and Government & Politics, said of the trip: “I really enjoyed it, it gave us the opportunity to go and learn in person about a subject we usually only catch a glimpse of in the news.”
After the visit to Westminster, students were treated to a surprise when they were able to watch the arrivals to the premiere of the film ‘1917’ in Leicester Square, including Richard Madden and Benedict Cumberbatch. “This was an unexpected bonus, I was just a few metres away from Richard Madden!” said one of our star-struck students.
Anne Wells, Politics teacher at Bede Sixth Form and organiser of the trip, said: “This trip is another example of both the strength of the four subjects (politics, history, economics and law), and also of our commitment to broadening our students’ life experience and knowledge of career opportunities. As usual our students were a credit to the College during what was a long but informative and interesting day.”
Aman, who studies English Literature, Government & Politics, and Law, said: “It was amazing! We were able to experience through our own eyes and learn what we were taught in the classroom. Definitely an experience I will never forget.”
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