West Norfolk pupils debate in Parliament
Tomorrow’s voters and politicians got a taste of democracy at work when they visited the Houses of Parliament and witnessed a live debate – as well as meeting their own MP.
The 57 Key Stage 2 pupils from our school and Heacham Junior enjoyed a tour of Westminster Palace before visiting the House of Commons.
“We were lucky enough to witness the Speaker’s procession into the House of Commons,” said teacher Kate Watson.
“The Speaker was accompanied by the Sergeant at Arms carrying the mace.”
“The children climbed the King’s Stairs to visit the House of Lords, and stood within the House of Lords looking at the historical statues, King’s golden chair, and red leather debating platform,” explained Ms Jackson. “After this, pupils were taken to the Great Hall, where the Queen had lain in state.
“At the end of the tour, pupils sat in the viewing balcony in the House of Commons watching a live debate on defence led by Grant Schapps and featuring James Wild.”
Mr Wild, MP for NW Norfolk, joined his young constituents after they had participated in their own debate in the Education Centre, where he answered questions about life as an MP.
“During our simulated debate, the children stood and waited to be asked to contribute by the speaker (Harry from Heacham), just as an MP would in the House of Commons,” continued Mrs Watson.
“It was amazing to see how immersed all the children were in the entire experience.”
The MP spent 20 minutes with the children before returning to the House of Commons to vote.
The children were accompanied by trip organiser and Snettisham teacher Kate Watson, along with fellow members of staff Hannah Greenhaulgh, Catherine Clemente, Jo Westmoreland and Nicky Scott, and Executive Leaders Louise Jackson and Emma Hunt.
“The pupils were fascinated by their experiences, and Harry from Heacham Juniors wanted to know what James enjoyed most about being an MP,” said Ms Jackson.
“Alfie from Snettisham asked him which MP he admired the most, and Jessica from Snettisham asked about his daily routines. It was clear that James was very busy!”
It was the first time some of the children had visited the capital, and the trip was also a first for the two schools.
“The visit was inspired by being involved in UK Parliament Week in 2022 and because of the strong links made with British Values through our knowledge-rich curriculum,” continued Ms Jackson.
“As part of the curriculum, pupils have learnt about kings, queens and parliament. They also learn about equality, rights and British values across the nation.
“It was noticeable that our pupils were highly engaged and able to answer questions about the history and organisation of the building. This is a great reflection on our curriculum, which celebrates and builds on history and British Values.”
“The trip to London gives all pupils within our rural and isolated communities an opportunity to broaden horizons and inspire young minds,” she added.
“Nearly 25 per cent of pupils had not been to London before, and no-one had visited Westminster Palace. They loved their day, and this high-quality experience will become a regular event.”