Following the success of our trip to the Houses of Parliament for our School Council last year, it was decided to organise a trip for the members of the High Peak Kid’s Council this year. Seven schools were represented with a total of fourteen students.
The day began very early when we gathered at Newtown train station to catch the 07:47 train to Stockport. A very helpful guard there ensured we were waiting in exactly the right place to board our carriage of the train to London.
Amazingly, two hours later we were there in the hustle and bustle of the capital. We had a walk along the streets and then caught a bus to Trafalgar Square where we took in the street entertainers and had our lunch before heading into the National Gallery to view as many of the Take One Pictures as we could!
Next we headed towards Buckingham Palace and got a great view up The Mall before visiting Horse Guards Parade. Perfect timing – we stood and watched the guards on horseback change over! Our next landmark was Downing Street – we peered through the gates but couldn’t see anybody famous. Westminster was the next stop and a little rest at the feet of Ghandi! After a drink and a quick snack we headed towards the Houses of Parliament and took in the view of the River Thames before being met by our guides at the Education Centre. What news we were met with!!
The MPs were to be sworn in that afternoon and our guides would do their very best to ensure that we saw as much as possible. After the security checks and a visit to the toilet, we were escorted across the courtyard to the Houses of Parliament and positioned to watch the Speaker enter the House of Commons. It was all very regimented and official! Black Rod walked past us accompanied by fancily dressed people and after banging on the door of the Commons, the MPs all filed out and went up the corridor to the House of Lords looking very sombre. A short time later they all filed back to the House of Commons. This time they were smiley and waving. Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and many other famous faces said hello to the children. We were then able to go up to the public gallery and watch some of the Members of Parliament being sworn in. Incredible!
Our workshop followed where the students and staff formed political parties (with untraditional names) and created a manifesto to present to the rest of the room. Following a secret ballot (which included several spoilt papers!) a newly elected government was formed! Our new MP, Ruth George, then came into the room and spoke to the children about the election process she had just been through and some of her hopes for her time as MP for the High Peak.
After a refreshing drink in the lunch room, we walked along the Thames, looked at the London Eye and the children spent some of the money burning a hole in their pockets at a stall! A little rest in the park before going for burgers at Five Guys.
Our final journey within London was on the Tube from Embankment to Euston where we arrived with plenty of time to spare. We boarded our train and relaxed after a long day.
The train was running a little late, leaving us one minute to get from Platform 3 to Platform 1 at Stockport! We made it and got as far as Hazel Grove before an announcement was made to say a freight train was broken on the track. After about twenty minutes we decided to contact all parents and ask them to collect their child from Hazel Grove which was definitely the right decision as still no trains were running on that line by midnight!!
An amazing day filled with memories to last a very long time! And very tired pupils (and staff!).