Pupils at a Gomersal school are learning how Parliament works – and putting some of its procedures into practice.
Gomersal Primary School teacher Mandy Barrett was chosen from more than 170 applicants to take part in a three-day training course at Westminster run by the Teachers’ Institute to get a detailed understanding of how the House of Commons and House of Lords work.
As part of the course, Mandy spoke to House of Commons Speaker John Bercow and the Lord Speaker Lord Fowler and heard from parliamentarians of all parties about their work in the Commons and Lords.
Now she is a UK Parliament Teacher Ambassador teaching her students about democracy and the Houses of Parliament.
Following her training, Batley & Spen MP Tracy Brabin, who is also shadow spokesperson for early years education, visited the school to meet Mandy and a group of year 5 and year 6 pupils who are members of the school’s arts council.
Mandy, a specialist arts teacher, became interested in taking the course when she took a party from the school to visit the Houses of Parliament and talk about championing the arts in school at a time when a lot of focus is on maths, English and government tests.
Commenting on the course, she said: “I wanted to learn a little more about how Parliament works. I spent three days getting into the nitty-gritty of how it works, how laws are passed, the committees and petitions.
“There were about 70 on the course and Tracy gave a talk to us about the work of an MP. She also wants to champion music, drama and art.
“We are now looking at how to implement what we learned in school through our arts council and school council – how pupils can go through the processes to approach the head and the teachers with ideas and so they have a voice in the school and what is going on.”
Since its launch in 2006, Teachers’ Institute has trained more than 700 teachers from all parts of the UK, giving them a detailed understanding of how the House of Commons and House of Lords work.
It is funded by Parliament’s Education Service, which works with schools and members the Lords and Commons to support young people in developing their understanding of Parliament and democracy. The service informs young people about the role, work and history of Parliament through educational visits, tours, publications, outreach and competitions.