Dartmouth Academy councillors learn from London
Dartmouth Academy pupils and school council members Barney Irvine and Ella Tomkinson went to London last month to find out how they can do a good job of representing their classmates.
On Wednesday September 19, Academy Director of Learning (Understanding the World) Kate Taylor accompanied the two Year Six pupils to London to learn about what it takes to be a school councillor.
The three went to the head office of Academy sponsor, educational charity E-ACT, for the training along with children from seven other E-ACT academies.
Ella and Barney learned about the types of decisions the school council might have to make and the sorts of qualities a school councillor needs to have. The children were given some problems to solve and worked in groups to practiseboth participating in discussions and being the chairperson of them too!
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After lunch they travelled on the London Underground to visit the Houses of Parliament. Entering through the offices of the MPs they walked through a tunnel under the road into the grounds of the Houses of Parliament with Big Ben looming over them!
The three then went on a tour of the Palace – starting in Westminster Hall, which is the oldest building in the palace complex, having been built in 1097. They saw the House of Lords and the House of Commons, the ‘robing’ room where the Queen gets dressed before opening Parliament and even the Queen’s personal bathroom! In the House of Lords itself the three were wowed by the gold throne and canopy which dominate the chamber.
Mrs Taylor said: “The tour was amazing. There were lots of paintings, carvings and sculptures everywhere. When we went into the House of Commons, we were surprised at how small it was. We stood where the Prime Minister delivers his speeches and saw how worn away the Despatch box was.
“We were shown places where women in the 1920s broke in to the Houses of Parliament to protest about women's rights to vote; we were told about people finding tennis balls in the rafters of the great hall because Henry VIII liked to play tennis in there and we were told about the times of war, when some of the furniture had to be moved so that it didn't get bombed.
“When we got back to Paddington station there was only one thing left to do - find Paddington bear and have a photo taken with him! It was an amazing day for all three of us – and Ella and Barney took so many great lessons from it. It was a wonderful learning experience for them and will allow them to take on the responsibility of being members of the school council with more confidence.”