Thursday, 06 July 2017
Pupils got to grips with politics and democracy in a day of educational events organised by the University of Worcester.
Parliament Day, organised by the Institute of Education, involved pupils from Burlish Park Primary, Stourport-on-Severn, who spent the day at The Hive taking part in activities with teaching students.
The day centred around a question on whether children’s time on electronic tablets should be limited, which saw pupils consider different points of view, hold House of Commons-style debates, select committees with ‘experts’, organise petitions and finally, vote.
First Year Primary Initial Teacher Education students from the University worked with the pupils on tasks and took on roles like expert scientists, Leader of the House of Commons and journalists.
Mark Garnier, MP for Wyre Forest, dropped in to talk to pupils, who grilled him with some searching questions, including his views on Brexit and who he liked best - David Cameron or Theresa May.
He said: “The whole process of trying to get people to engage in politics is incredibly important and this is a really good example of how we can get people from an early age to take an interest in the democratic process and how the country is run.
“It’s a really good initiative by the University of Worcester and hopefully Worcester’s lead will be replicated around the country.”
Noah Davison, 11, said: “It’s been really fun because we had the chance to meet people and learn about things that I hadn’t really thought about before. The debate was really fun because we learnt about what happens in the real Houses of Parliament.
“It’s important for us to learn about government because otherwise when we get older and have to vote we won’t know what to do.”
Ella Wilks, 10, said: “I found the petition interesting as we had to think about what we wanted to change.”
Mia Little, 9, said: “I found it interesting learning about how laws are passed through to being certified to actually being a law. When we can vote we’ll know where to do it and what to do.”
Heather Lindley, Assistant Headteacher at Burlish Park Primary School, said: “Parliament Day has been a fantastic opportunity for the pupils to gain more insight into the important role The House of Commons and The House of Lords play in our democratic system. They were able to learn about legislation and consider the issues and viewpoints concerning a topical issue for debate – they even had the chance to carry out a debate. It was fantastic to see the pupils’ engagement throughout the day and the students working with them were brilliant.”
Sharon Lannie, Lecturer in Primary English in the University’s Institute of Education, added: “Embedding fundamental British values is a core element of our teaching at the University and our First Year students had the opportunity to experience this in action. It was an ideal opportunity for them to work with Year 6 pupils in a creative and innovative way, enabling them to learn about the importance of democracy through debate, discussion and drama. Pupils adapted their spoken language to the audience and our students were able to use many of the teaching strategies they have learnt during the year.”