Bingley Grammar School


Yr 7 Parliament Assembly & Workshop

Last Wednesday (27th March) Year 7 were visited by Rachael Dodgson from the UK Education Parliament Centre.

Rachael spoke about democracy and asked the students ‘if the world would be a better place if we all agreed?’. The students decided it was better to have lots of different opinions and ideas.

Rachael explained how our government was voted in, what a coalition is and how our Government is currently a ‘minority government’ and therefore has to rely on other parties to help them push their ‘bills’ through.

Other things discussed included:

  • What constituencies are
  • How elections work
  • Who candidates are
  • The 8 political parties with MPs in parliament currently
  • What a ‘bill’ is, how it gets passed and how long it can take
  • The difference between the House of Commons and the House of Lords (and the significance of the seat colours)
  • The Speaker in the House of Commons and how important he is
  • The voting age

Rachael then went on to speak about things that our students might feel are important to them and how, although they are unable to vote, they can use their voice and make a stand for the things they believe in. Rachael explained how online petitions started by young people have been debated in Parliament and made real changes.

Year 7 really engaged with Rachael and her message asking lots of questions at the end of the assembly – we think we may have more than a few budding politicians in the year group now!

After the assembly, 30 selected students were awarded the opportunity (based on the number of LORIC certificates and achievement points they have received) to stay behind for a workshop for the remainder of the school day, where they planned their own election campaign. The groups decided on their party names by democratic vote, came up with their manifesto promises and presented them to the constituencies to gain votes and will the election.

The 5 parties; Services for You, Save the Planet Party, Help for Homeless,

Shipley Health Party and Thinking about Climate Change, all put forward some powerful ideas but the Save the Planet Party won the election with 4 of their candidate winning the vote in their constituencies.

We would like to thank Rachael and UK Parliament Education for a really informative and engaging afternoon. We hope our students will now use their voices to bring about changes they want to see and also use their votes wisely when the time comes.

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