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Democracy not debatable!

This week Sycamore Class have been celebrating Parliament Week. They have been learning about the three parts of parliament (House of Commons, House of Lords and the monarch), how a government is elected and how every single person in the country (even children) can be involved in UK democracy. They have been thinking about issues that are important to them (such as climate change, deforestation and funding new green technologies) and have written letters to our MP, James Grey, lobbying him to vote for changes.

One of their favourite parts of the week was recreating a parliamentary style debate. The topic chosen was ‘You should have to pass a test to own a dog’. The children picked sides - the government and the opposition and had time to research and form their arguments. With their chairs organised into benches, the Speaker of the House introduced and formally started the debate. A sudden swarm of standing alerted us that they had a lot to say on the matter. Behaviour was a thousand times better than in the real House of Commons: with everyone taking turns and listening to what each other had to say, patiently waiting to be selected by the speaker. There were no shouts of ‘shame’ to be heard. All courtesies were observed with sayings of ‘I thank my honourable friend for raising this issue and I agree’; the most heated it became was when one person said ‘I think my right honourable friend must be confused’. Facts, opinions and counterarguments were bandied across the floor until the speaker called for a vote. In the end, it was the noes that won it, with most agreeing that more information about the content and equality of access to the test needed to be decided.

A fantastic and enjoyable week that has hopefully encouraged them to see the power in their voices.