Thomas Gray,12A, writes:
London welcomed the Year 12 Government and Politics class on Friday 18th January 2019. After the eventful House of Commons votes earlier that week, everyone felt excited to get a tour of the battleground of British politics; the Houses of Parliament. The train and tube trip were navigated well, and everyone made it to Westminster tube station in time for some lunch. After a quick sandwich, the class made it through security and we met our tour guide. We first went to the central lobby, where Members of Parliament are often smothered by the press, fortunately there were no cameras there for us that day. We then were taken up to the viewing galleries of the House of Lords where unelected professionals make recommendations on policy making. A debate was taking place which was especially impressive as we were able to see the chamber in action, live! Then we were taken to the committee rooms where experts are chosen to scrutinise the government and to help with the making of any legislation. Then, we were led to the ‘other place’: The House of Commons. This was particularly exciting due to the two very important votes just days before however there were no debates taking place while we were there which meant that we were able to actually go into the chamber itself. It seemed strangely small although still very regal, filled with its green benches and gold ornaments. We even got to stand at the dispatch box, where Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn exchange arguments over issues such as Brexit.
After the tour, we met in the education centre for a workshop about select committees and we debated whether or not they were an effective method for scrutinising government policy. It started with a quiz and then we were told to research to prepare for the debate. We then met with Baroness Barker, who sits in the House Lords and is a former committee member; she was able to explain to us about what her job entails, how to address her (m’lady and then ma’am) and what she thinks, as a liberal democrat, about her role as an unelected representative.
Overall, the trip was very informative and enjoyable as we got to see the inner workings of how our country is run.