Our Year 12 Politics students recently visited the Houses of Parliament. Two students recount their experiences...
For our Politics trip we went to the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. We got to observe the debates happening in the House of Commons and Lords and have a tour of the Houses of Parliament. The debate we observed in the House of Lords was about bat habitat protection and the debate in the House of Commons was on abuse on emergency workers. I found the topic being discussed in the House of Commons a lot more interesting than the topics being discussed in the Lords; this is because I think abuse on emergency workers is a very important issue that affects a range of people including the emergency services, the public and the Government.
The atmosphere was very different in the Commons in comparison to the Lords, the Commons layout was different, for example Conservative sat on one side and the opposition sat on the opposite side. In addition, I noticed in the Commons a number of MPs were on their phones rather than participating in debates; this could be due to MPs having a busy schedule and using their time in debates to check emails etc. However, when in the Commons when a debate is taking place they should be focusing on the topic being discussed. Furthermore, the Lords were a lot quieter and calm in comparison to the Commons who were a lot louder and more MPs were putting forward their opinions; this could be due to there being more people present in the Commons compared to the Lords at the time.
I found the workshop very helpful as it was very engaging and helped me expand my learning on voting systems. I am now a lot more confident on the voting systems topic as the workshop helped me recap advantages and disadvantages of various voting systems. Overall, I think this trip was very beneficial to my learning.
by Kelly Edwards
On Friday 27th April, we went to the Houses of Parliament. We were able to sit in and watch part of the debates happening in both chambers. In the House of Commons, the topic of debate was abuse of emergency workers and the topic of debated in the House of Lords was the preservation of bat habitats. The atmospheres in the chambers are both different, I felt the atmosphere in the House of Commons was a lot more tense in comparison to the atmosphere in the House of Lords.
After the tour, we participated in an electoral systems workshop focusing on the PR and FPTP systems. I feel the activities were useful as it consolidated my knowledge of pros and cons of the First Past the Post and was also a chance for me to develop my knowledge on the Proportional Representation system. There was also a point system which I think encouraged us to participate more in the activities given. Overall, I did find the trip to the Houses of Parliament enjoyable and found it useful in developing my knowledge in electoral systems.
by Freddie Reid