UK Parliament Week is an annual event, spreading the word about what Parliament is, what it does and how you can get involved.
This year, Grove has been celebrating with over 1.1 million people across the UK, with pupils taking part in a range of debates, votes and even meeting a Lord!
In Early Years, the children developed their understanding of voting, when picking their storytime book. The children had the opportunity to use evidence (the front cover and an explanation of the blurb from their teacher) to make an informed decision about which of two books they would like to hear at the end of the day. The children understood that the book that was read was that which the majority had voted for.
In Key Stage One, the children focused on specific news stories and talked about how these made them feel. The children particularly enjoyed discussing a story where an author spoke of his experiences growing up as a black man in the UK. They spoke in front of each other about why they felt he was a good role model and what type of person he was. They related his life to their own experiences and reflected on these beautifully.
In Key Stage 2, the children have been thoroughly enjoying taking part in a range of debates. The children have learnt how debates are organised in Parliament, and now have a fantastic understanding of the role of the speaker, opposition and proposer. The children are aware of the importance of respectful and evidence-based speaking during a debate and of the need to listen carefully to the opposing side so that you can respond appropriately. Some of the topics that have been debated include:
• Should teachers be replaced by robots?
• Should we change the time school starts and ends?
• Was the industrial revolution good for society?
• Have mobile phones improved people’s lives?
The children voted for the team who they felt made the best argument at the end of the debate and reflected on why this argument was so successful. The children have enjoyed these debates so much that they are speaking to their school councillors about starting debate clubs after school next term!
On Friday, we were lucky enough to be visited by Lord Hunt, former deputy leader of the House of Lords. He built on the children’s knowledge of how Parliament worked, and shared some keepsakes from his days on the front bench, such as his ministerial boxes, gifts from trips to foreign governments and even the seal he was given by the Queen when he became a Lord. Most importantly, he shared with the children the fact that any one of them could aspire to be part of Parliament, and the importance of knowing how to be heard if you feel passionately about something.
He then visited each class in Year 5 and 6 to take questions from the children about his experiences of being a Lord, such as:
• If you could change one law, what would it be and why?
• What do you think is the most important law for children?
• How did you become a Lord? How can I become a Lord?
• Did you ever meet the Queen, and if so, what was your impression of her?
• I am concerned about the increased incidence of flooding in the UK: what is the government doing about this?
• What changes have you brought about as a Lord?
It was wonderful to see the confidence of all of the children in asking their questions and to hear that some are eager politicians of the future after having this experience.