Sep 29, 2014

6th Form at the Despatch Box

Category:Sixth Form,General,
Posted by: fward

6th Form Discover Parliament – Tour and Workshop Visit to Westminster 19th Sep, 2014

There’s nothing like running for a train to wake you up on a Friday morning, and as sixteen students from Lady Lumley’s sixth form raced through the underpass at York station, as the tannoy announced a last minute platform change, maybe some reflected on the fact that Referendum Result Day was an auspicious time to be visiting the seat of power in the U.K. Others, such as myself and Miss Heyes were reflecting more on how difficult it is to do a head count at speed, in rush hour, whilst ensuring that everyone got on the correct carriage, but in the end we were all safely settled in our seats ready for a day trip to Westminster.  During the hours that followed we took a trip on the London Eye, were taken on a tour of the Houses of Parliament and took part in a workshop with other schools role-playing the decisions of an MP of the fictional ‘United Party’ as they tried to juggle their own beliefs with the wishes of their party whip and of different constituents. Standing next to the despatch box in the House of Commons was a powerful moment as we were able to feel the weight of history in the exact spot where votes have been taken that have started wars, brought in a welfare state, shut coal mines and given equal pay to women – to pick a few examples at random. Our tour also took us into the ‘no’ voting lobby, through the central lobby, past MPs offices, and then to the House of Lords – of which the general opinion seemed to be ‘too bling’. Following our workshop we headed up Whitehall, past Downing Street and then on to the event that the students had been looking forward to more than any other – an evening meal at Nando’s. Following that, a brush with a slightly saucy mime artist in Covent Garden was our last excitement of the day – until our arrival at York where, again, we had to race for our connection due to a last minute platform change – and everyone made it home safe and sound having had an experience that I know will make their studies of government & politics and British political history so much more real in the weeks and terms to follow. (by Michael Cutler)