We began UK Parliament Week this year by thinking about what Parliament actually is and how it's structured. We learnt that Parliament is made up of the Houses of Commons, which contains elected officials called MPs, who represent the views of their constituents (people who live in their area) and the House of Lords, which contains experts in their field who use their expertise and experience to make sure that laws are written properly and carefully.
We learnt that MPs can stand for different political parties, each of which have different values - or things that are important to them. We explored the major political parties manifestos and were surprised to see that we agreed with some things on most of them!
In the afternoon, we exercised our democratic right to debate and vote, by debating the topic 'The House believes that the voting age should be lowered to 16.' To begin with, we thought that 16 year olds shouldn't have the right to vote, but, thanks to thoughtful and structured debating from both sides, we eventually voted and decided that 16 year olds should have the right to vote. The power of debate!
If you'd like to learn an Introduction to Parliament, watch this quick video.
Year 6's Manifestos
On Tuesday we explored further the different political parties and the sorts of things they promise to focus on if they're elected. We noticed that sections of the manifestos often focus on several key things, including justice, education, health, money, the environment, international affairs and security. Using the existing party manifestos and these key areas as a guide, we had a go at developing our own political party manifestos (with some party names more creative than others...).
Here are some things that the Year 6 children promised:
Year 6's Parliament Trip
On Thursday 9th January 2020, Year 6 went on a trip to the Houses of Parliament. It was a brilliant experience and everybody loved it very much.
When we arrived, we sat down in the park and ate our lunch, then we went inside and met our guides: Heidi and Lena. They led us to the centre of Parliament.
My group went into the House of Commons first and saw part of a debate about the fires in Australia. MPs were discussing whether to wait for Australia to ask for help or whether to offer help straight away.
Secondly, we went into the House of Lords and watched a debate about building new houses. One Lady's point was needing more houses for families and homeless people.
In summary, we saw where the laws are made, where debates happen and had an amazing time. If I get the opportunity, I will definitely go to Parliament again in the future.