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Year 6 visit London and the Houses of Parliament

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An intrepid team of three brave teachers and twenty-three even braver children from the Upper Prep set out on a whistle-stop tour of London on Monday, 10th June. The trip was an adventure from start to finish, with a number of children having never been on the tube or visited London! Despite the unending rain, we saw some incredible landmarks, including the Shard, with the top engulfed in mist.

Our first stop was the Imperial War Museum, where we were lucky enough to see the World War 1 Centenary exhibition. This tied in well with the Year 6 set text, Private Peaceful. We experienced a mock trench, saw if we were tall enough to be soldiers (the benchmark in 1914 was 5’3”), read some brilliant letters written by enthusiastic nine-year-old volunteers and observed the sheer size of some of the weapons used. We certainly had a lot to think about on our walk to the Houses of Parliament.

After enduring the rain once more, we were admitted to the Houses of Parliament and taken on a tour. We were lucky enough to see a number of MPs in the House of Commons discussing the Grenfell Enquiry, including Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and Sajid Javid. The House of Lords was less celebrity-filled but the beautiful location more than made up for that. In the Palace of Westminster, we stood on the very spot where St Peter’s alumnus Guy Fawkes was sentenced to death, and where Barack Obama delivered a speech when he last visited the UK as President. We were told that such an honour had not been extended to president Trump.

Following this, our local MP for Thirsk and Malton, Kevin Hollinrake met us for a question and answer session. He gave a brief speech detailing his reasons for entering politics (inspirational parents discussing politics at the dinner table) and then answered some challenging questions from our Upper Prep students. Isla Davies queried his reasons for supporting fracking in North Yorkshire (he doesn’t believe it to be a damaging practice and we need more natural gas), Hannah Tench was keen to know whether his ‘bumpy time’ in the last four years had been related to national or local politics (both), Will Shedden asked if he had to deal directly with Brexit (yes, unfortunately), Sophia McCabe asked why people voted to leave Europe (a complicated answer which focused on the myths surrounding immigration) and finally, Henry Ellerker asked if we could ban school (yes, if he can get into Parliament and influence enough people – the beauty of democracy!). We were all so proud of the quality of questions asked, proving our children to be politically aware and articulate.

Finally, we embarked upon a short introduction to democracy, spanning from the Magna Carta to the present day (in twenty minutes!). There was then a brief march, two tubes and a train journey before we arrived at York station, tired (the children) and slightly dishevelled (the staff) but excited for the residential trip to Durham School the following day.

Suzy Ward


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