Year 8 spent a full two days in London 23-24th November, with the highlight of the trip being a tour around the Houses of Parliament. The children started in Westminster Hall built in 1099 by William Rufus (son of William the Conqueror) and then through the Victorian additions. We weaved our way through the corridors (although not thankfully all four miles of them) to the Queen’s Robing Room and the Royal Gallery.
After a lively debate which introduced the concept of democracy in the Education Rooms, we were led once again into Westminster Palace, this time by Kevin Hollinrake MP who is Luke and Will D’s uncle and was elected in the last election. Here we were allowed into a special debating chamber and the children had chance to have their very own ‘question time’.
This was fuelled by Kevin’s opening story; he had visited 10 Downing Street that morning and returned with a pocket full of Murray Mints which were on offer to any pupil who could ask a question. Mr P and myself were delighted with the eager hands and range of questions which ranged from, ‘Do you ever fall out with David Cameron?’ to ‘Do you think speaking out against ISIS makes the situation worse?’
As well as finding out about the workings of Government the group took a river taxi to Greenwich. Here it was so cold that instead of marching up to see the Greenwich Meridian, we instead warmed up inside the Cutty Sark, enjoying the tea aroma, the hands on exhibits, the chance to walk on deck and admire the riggings before walking below the boat which is secured in dry dock. You can see a wonder plan of the boat on a new display outside Mrs. Scott’s office (as well as a collection of photos from the two day excursion).
We started the second day exploring the Tate Modern on the South Bank. The work by Abraham Cruzvillegas title ‘Empty Lot’ in the Turbine Hall stimulated some great debate although it wasn’t always of a philosophical nature! Two other highlights were the food at Wagamama’s and a trip to the British Library. In the ‘Treasure’s Room’ Year 8 were quick to find the Magna Carta, which had been mentioned earlier in the day and finished with enjoying the stamp collection stored in pull out screens.
The Year 8 children were great company and we hope this short taste of London will encourage them to enjoy their capital city in the future.