On Wednesday 2nd November forty Year 10-13 pupils visited Westminster. Year 13 Politics and History student, Holly, recounts the day:
‘I thoroughly enjoyed the visit to Westminster as it granted me a more detailed perspective of the site and centre of politics that has fascinated me for many years. The tour was very interesting, in particular the magnificent and stunningly beautiful architecture of Westminster Hall with its colossal size and grand ceilings. The gothic buildings were steeped in history and I really felt the presence of the long line of monarchs and politicians who have made decisions that have shaped Britain, past and present. It was fascinating to sit in the House of Commons gallery while MPs debated the future of community pharmacies. We didn’t see the Prime Minister but we spotted many well-known ministers and MPs including Jeremy Hunt, Diane Abbott and David Davis. Afterwards, we gained first-hand experience of the process of turning bills into laws. We also engaged in a lively House of Commons-style debate on the future of the monarchy, in which both sides offered interesting points, including that the monarchy is part of British national identity and focus of patriotism, and an alternative view that it personifies an elitist, class-ridden society. Following her visit to Clifton High earlier this year, I was pleased to have another opportunity to question local MP Thangam Debbonaire over recent events including the lack of support from Labour MPs for leader Jeremy Corbyn. Theo and Luke also offered some good questions on taxation and the future of the NHS.
Earlier in the day we were given a tour of Westminster Abbey to better appreciate the beautiful Gothic architecture and rich history of the Abbey, which stretches back over a thousand years. We learned how the Abbey has been the coronation church since 1066 and it is the burial place for 17 monarchs. It was incredible to see the graves of so many monarchs and intellectual greats as well as the grave of the unknown warrior, particularly as our attentions were focusing on remembering fallen soldiers so close to Armistice Day. It was very strange to walk over the graves of so many of the world’s greatest writers and thinkers such as Charles Dickens and George Elliot. It was a trip that certainly inspired as well as deepened knowledge and curiosity in history and politics.