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Informative and exciting trip to the heart of the political system

Students pose for a photo in the House of Parliament during a trip to London

A mixed group of Lower Sixth and Fourth Year students headed to London on an exciting trip that saw them visit the Houses of Parliament and the Supreme Court.

The first part of the trip was spent in the Supreme Court, where the students were given a guided tour of the Court and learnt about the distinct and important functions of the highest court in the UK.

Sat in the Justices’ chairs, they were given a recent Supreme Court case to consider. They looked at the legality of dual enterprise murder and were charged with arriving at their own view on this; with the actual decisions and consequences being discussed within the group.

The pupils then had the opportunity to sit in the public gallery in Court 1 to hear part of that day’s case, Unite the Union and another (Respondents) v Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive T/A Nexus (Appellant).

The time spent in the Supreme Court concluded with a visit to their exhibition and museum. This gave the group the opportunity to consider more of the challenging points of law the Justices are asked to rule on and also see some of the artefacts and gifts given to the Supreme Court by visiting foreign dignitaries.

In the afternoon, the students were taken on a guided tour of the House of Commons and House of Lords, led by a member of the Parliament Education Centre’s team.

With all of the excitement of the election in full swing across the country, as the respective campaigns entered the final week, Parliament was unusually and eerily quiet; with the main activity being television crews preparing the House of Lords for the state opening of Parliament!

The group spent time in St Stephens Hall, the original home of the House of Commons, and Central Lobby before heading to both chambers via their respective division lobbies, and then into Westminster Hall. For the historians, this allowed them the opportunity to visualise the trial of Charles I in 1648 from where he was sat!

The students, all interested in the option of Law, History, Politics or International Relations at A Level or university, then took part in a Q&A session with Baroness Garden of Frognal.

As Senior Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords and a Liberal Democrat peer who served as a government whip in the 2010-2015 Coalition government, Baroness Garden responded openly and informatively in response to the many questions the group had for her, and she gave an informative insight into the role of the Lords and Baronesses in our legislative process.

The day provided an informative and stimulating opportunity for the students to place themselves at the heart of our political system and will have provided much inspiration and encouragement as they look ahead to their next steps beyond SGS.