As part of enrichment week, one group of year 8’s have been planning their own political parties. Here three of them have written about their experiences.
Bearing in mind I came into this course without a very confident knowledge about politics, I now think I have an understanding.
I learnt about the current parties and what they stand for as conservative like traditional values and they believe in freedom of speech and religion, Labour want to slightly change the tax as they feel the rich should be taxed higher. The Green Party supports the environment.
I have learnt to have a party you need policies which would be in your manifesto, you would need to have a name and promote your party. We did this as we made our won parties and we made it the ukdp, the United Kingdom defence party, as we wanted to boost the military and protect the country from illness and crime.
We went on a trip which benefited my learning as we experienced the atmosphere of the House of Commons and was able to learn interactively, we did a workshop on the trip which was beneficial as it taught me how laws were passed, but in a fun way. Laws are passed by a bill being introduced in the House of Commons and if it is agreed with it is given to the House of Lords who then discuss it. The Lords can either suggest adjustments or agree with it once the House of Commons have agreed it is put through other tests and finally the Queen decides to sign her approval. I definitely recommend trips like this as I was able to understand where all my learning of the subject comes from.
The most interesting thing I did on this topic was the workshop on the trip as it felt as if I was in a debate and passing a law and taught me how all of the laws we obey were made.
In future I would like to learn more about what the government do in order to keep immigration under control, as this topic kept coming up but we didn’t really understand it well enough to give a knowledgeable opinion.
Over the course of the past few days, I have managed to greatly expand my knowledge of British politics. Firstly, we learnt how voting works, and what a referendum is; as well as how democracy has developed in Britain and who has the power. Then, we went on a trip to the Houses of Parliament, where I managed to learn a variety of interesting facts and ideas. These include how a bill becomes a law in Parliament, the differences between the House of Lords and the House of Commons, the political spectrum and where various different UK political parties stand on them, how to form a political party and the history of the British parliament.
For example: a bill can start in either the HoC or the HoL, and gets revised and re-worked many times, meaning that it just keep bouncing from house to house until it gets sent to the Monarch for approval. It was very interesting to see all of the wonderful architecture and art that adorned the wizened walls. It was also very interesting to view a debate in the House of Commons in the public gallery! We then took part in a workshop which told us all about how laws are made, including a dramatisation of how Parliament would go about business. Overall, I think that the most interesting fact that I learnt was that Parliament had actually burnt down at one point, except for one portion. I would very much like to learn more about this subject in the future, especially how a political party functions internally.
Over the last couple of days I have learnt a lot about politics. For example that if you get the same number of seats it will go to another election 6 months later. Also I’ve learnt a lot about different parties like the Green Party want to have a cleaner earth and reduce pollution and fossil fuel use.
Going to parliament gave me an extremely good idea on the history of Parliament and politics. I found out how laws get passed through with the green paper and the white paper. My observations gave me a lot as well as it was very church-like and quite old. I learnt about when women got to be MPs in 1918 and about the fire which burnt some of Parliament.
The most interesting thing I’ve done over the past few days is without a doubt creating my own party. It gave me a real idea of leadership and how to control a party. In my opinion I now feel leading a party is very hard as you have to think about the manifesto, finance and more.
If I was going to learn something in the future it would be about campaigning and how to put your point forward and get it known. If we were able to do this I feel it would give us knowledge and help us in the future if we ever wanted to get our point across.
Overall it has been a great time and if I was going to re-choose an activity it would still be this. From going to parliament to learning in class to creating a party it’s all been great.