Pupils from a Harrogate school learned some important lessons in democracy when they took a trip round the Houses of Parliament.
Belmont Grosvenor School has its own Student Council, with elected pupil councilors listening to their fellow students’ ideas, and representing their views at regular council meetings.
To ensure their Student Council is run correctly, a group of 26 pupils from the independent prep school took a trip to London to visit the country’s seat of democracy, the Houses of Parliament.
And having spent time touring Westminster, meeting Skipton and Ripon MP Julian Smith, and taking part in a workshop on democracy, the Belmont Grosvenor pupils returned to school full of ideas to improve the running of their Student Council.
Pam Dight, Deputy Headteacher at the co-educational Belmont Grosvenor School, based at Swarcliffe Hall, Birstwith, said the trip to London, which also included a visit to a West End musical, had been a great success.
Mrs Dight said: We run our Student Council along similar lines to that of a local council, and to the way in which our local MP runs his constituency. We have set up ‘surgeries’ in school where pupils can speak to a student councilor and put forward suggestions, and raise issues,.
These are then discussed and action is taken to benefit the whole school. We invited our local MP, Julian Smith, into school to come and meet the pupils, then the next logical step was for us to visit him in the Houses of Parliament.
We had a wonderful tour of the Houses of Parliament and saw some familiar faces, after which we took an active part in a debate about voting in Britain and Europe. The children found it very informative and educational – and also had a fun day too.
The Year 6 pupils, and all the members of the Belmont Grosvenor Student Council, also took part in a workshop on democracy.
Emily Belcher, a Year 6 pupil at Belmont Grosvenor, said everyone had thoroughly enjoyed their day.
Emily said: When we got off the tube in London we saw Big Ben! We had an interesting tour of the House of Lords, which had a massive gold throne where the Queen sits, but we couldn’t see the House of Commons as Prime Minister’s Questions was happening. We had a great day.