A Level Politics Students Trip To Westminster

News 17.06.2024 Whole School

Possibly the highlight of the last few months has been our visit to the British Museum and Westminster. We travelled down to London by train, then walked to the British Museum, where student explored some amazing new exhibitions. I was amazed to find out more about female gladiators in Bodrum and to see bits of an old Cluniac Priory in Lewes that I had studied last year while delivering GCSE Norman History.

I guess, that is the beauty of museum trips, students looked at the relevant Politics sections, but came back to me and Mr Benest in the coffee shop, full of awe and wonder having taken in everything from Egyptian mummies to Saxon Gold.

From the museum, we walked through central London, soaking up the sun and atmosphere of the West End. Before stopping for food at Pizza Express, which Year 12 insisted we go to. Students sat chatting in anticipation of the main purpose of the visit.

As we strolled past Horse Guards Parade, Downing Street and the Cabinet Office, students were able to see key government offices and ministries. We then went to the Education Centre at the Palace of Westminster, where students were given an in-detail tour of the Commons, Central Lobby and Westminster. Our tour guide had plenty of questions to ask students to scrutinise their knowledge of how Parliament works.

From there, we sat in the gallery above the green seats and watched a debate on the new Criminal Justice Bill. Finally, we went back to the Education Centre and students competed against each other in a mock debate on the reinstatement of the death penalty. Students wore sashes and bowler hats as leaders of parties they invented, drew up manifestos and then argued intently.

As Speaker of the House, I got to wear a long gown and black wig and judge the quality of the debate and make sure the speakers were behaving themselves by shouting “order, order!”. Perhaps you will be glad to hear that the motion to bring back the death penalty was defeated, based on fantastic oratory and great use of statistics.

Once finished at Westminster, we walked to Horse guards Parade, watched the changing of the guard and then hopped on the tube back to St. Pancras and then home. Students, talked at length about how much they enjoyed the day out and I feel they came back from this visit enriched by the whole experience and with an enhanced understanding the practical nature of how laws are made in the UK.

Rob McNally, Head of Politics

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