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Students place themselves at heart of political system on Westminster trip

Students inside the Houses of Parliament

Fifteen Lower Sixth students headed to London on a trip that saw them visit the Houses of Parliament and the Supreme Court.

The first part of the trip was a guided tour of the House of Commons and House of Lords, led by a member of the Parliament Education Centre’s team.

The group were led through the Robing Room and the Division Lobbies into the two chambers themselves, each getting the opportunity to stand at the dispatch box and imagine themselves being in the shoes of the Prime Minister!

While the usual hustle and bustle of Westminster was absent due to a Friday visit, the group spent time in Central Lobby before heading into Westminster Hall. For the historians, this allowed 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 university, then took part in a workshop on voting and representation, working in three groups to devise manifestos, nominate a leader and see how different voting systems can generate different outcomes in term of the number of MPs or other political representatives allocated to each party. This was then set against the outcome of the most recent General Election in 2019.

After some time for lunch on the South Bank, the group returned to Parliament Square, Whitehall, Horseguards and Downing Street.

The afternoon session was spent in the Supreme Court, where the pupils were able to visit the two court rooms and learn about the distinct and important functions of the highest court in the UK. Sat in the justice’s chairs, they were given some recent Supreme Court cases to consider and determine an outcome on; with the actual decisions and consequences being discussed within the group.

The time spent in the Supreme Court concluded with a visit to their exhibition/museum, which 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.

The day provided an informative and exciting 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.