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Pupils Put Politics into Practice Thanks to University

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Schoolchildren got a taste of life in Westminster during a special Parliament Day hosted by the University of Worcester.

Designed to coincide with UK Parliament Week, pupils from Pitmaston Primary School, in Worcester, got the chance to put politics into practice with a key debate on the use of modern technology.

Year Six pupils had to vote on a motion to limit children’s time using electronic tablets and mobile phones, with pupils arguing forcefully on both sides of a mocked up ‘House of Commons’.

Organised by staff from the University’s Primary Initial Teacher Education degree, teaching students were involved throughout the day and played various characters, including the Speaker of the House and the Clerk of the House.

The event, held at The Hive, also tried to replicate a real political scenario, with pupils canvassing for votes, hearing from ‘experts’ and giving media interviews.

Trainee teachers then reported on the day posting pictures and pupils’ interview comments live on a special social media feed.

Nigel Huddleston, MP for Mid Worcestershire, attended to explain his role and answer questions.

Kate Wilcock, Headteacher at Pitmaston Primary School, said: “It was such a fantastic opportunity for our children.

“The Year 6 pupils have been learning about the etiquette of politics and debating within the House of Commons, researching the topic, practising their persuasion and debating skills and really challenging their ideas and thinking.

“These are the events our pupils remember and learn the most from.”

Rachel Barrell, Course Leader for Primary Initial Teacher Education, who masterminded the event, said: “Embedding fundamental British values is a core element of our Primary Initial Teacher Training programme at Worcester and our Year 3 students have just completed an assignment on how these values can be taught in the classroom.

“Working with Pitmaston Primary School on a Parliament Day was an ideal opportunity for our students to work with pupils in a creative and innovative way to enable children to learn about the importance of democracy and the rule of law and that their voices can make a difference.

“Supporting our partnership schools is also a key driver in all of the work we do.”

Mr Huddleston said: “I think this is an excellent day that realistically showed how parliament works and really engaged the pupils in a way I have never seen before.

“It’s really important that young people know how parliament and democracy works and understand how they can play a part in it and today really showed that.

“It’s fantastic to see such partnership work between the University of Worcester’s Institute of Education and a local primary school.”

See the children in action

Pupils from Pitmaston Primary School take part in Parliament Day at the Hive.