On Tuesday the School Council went on a trip to the Houses of Parliament. At Westminster there were people doing peaceful protests about climate change. It took us a while to get to the education centre but there were about a hundred friendly police officers to help! At the centre we all got VIP passes to the Houses of Parliament. We went through the Queen’s entrance and walked up the same stairs as the Queen. She has climbed these over 60 times when she comes to give her Queen’s Speech each year!
We went into her dressing room where there were massive paintings with values on them…religion, mercy, hospitality, generosity…. We then went into the Royal Gallery full of portraits of all the Kings and Queens but also this was the office for the Lords. We then went into the House of Lords. The whole room was red. Red is for the Lords, green is for the Commons and gold is for the Queen. There was an amazing gold throne for the Queen. 24 carat gold leaf! There were microphones hanging from the ceiling.
We then sat in the NO chamber and got told that when voting MPs had 8 minutes to run to the No or Aye (yes) chamber. These chambers also had big books with everything any MP has ever said in Parliament! We then headed into the House of Commons which is green and you can see this one on TV. The Queen cannot step in here because a past King once did and caused problems.He got beheaded. We knelt by the seats just behind where Theresa May sits. We then went to see the Great Hall where Nelson Mandela and President Obama have stood on the steps to give great speeches.
We went back to the centre and had a workshop. We did a game about fairness. A lady said a question and we had to go where we thought – fair, not fair etc. She asked us to explain why we had chosen the one we had. One question was ‘Would it be fair if your headteacher chose the School Council instead of the children?’ Some children thought fair, some thought not fair.
After that we watched a movie about the suffragettes. It was a big fight for them to get women’s rights. The movie was projected onto the walls of the room. At one point in the movie it was like we were actually in the old House of Commons when the ladies chained themselves to the grills – we took a photo later of us next to the actual grill.
After the movie, we were having a discussion and our Sydenham MP Ellie Reeves walked into the room! She was great and told us about her job. Hope-Rachel now has her number to call with something she’s worried about! Anybody can call or write to their MP. The School Council had a photo with her. It was an amazing adventure for us and we learnt a lot about how government works.