About Representation and voting tour and workshop
Please note that this visit is available to UK schools only
Visits from summer term 2017
If you have a visit booked in spring 2017 (between January and March) and don’t see the workshop name that you have requested. Don’t worry – just give our friendly Bookings Team a call on 020 72194496 and they will be able to answer any questions.
This programme starts with a tour of the Palace of Westminster.
NB: Parliament is a working building and access to different parts of the Palace of Westminster, as part of your tour, will vary due to Parliamentary business.
Your visit might include:
- The House of Commons or House of Lords chambers
- A visit to the public gallery to observe the MPs or Lords working
- Westminster Hall, the last remaining part of the original Palace
- Central Lobby, at the very heart of the Parliamentary Estate.
The workshop content is as follows:
The concept of the constituency is defined and explained before pupils are divided into competing teams, their political parties, to create manifestos. Each pledge they make increases the cost of a can of fizzy drink so parties have to consider how they will balance attractive manifesto pledges against the amount their constituents would be willing to pay for a soft drink.
Once each party has presented its manifesto to the group we hold our election using a real ballot box. The successful candidates in each constituency form our ‘House of Commons’ and the difference between Parliament and government is reinforced.
The 2015 general election is used as the basis to compare and contrast several voting systems. Representing competing political parties they will design a two pledge manifesto before putting it to the test at the polls.
Votes are counted using the First Past the Post system, the winning party is announced, and the results are analysed to assess the strength of the resulting government and how effectively the people are being represented. The same votes are counted using proportional representation and the results are critically assessed.
During the workshop pupils consider how representation has developed over time, the challenges Parliament currently faces to accurately reflect the views of the people, and what the Parliament of the future could do to help enhance our democracy and widen democratic participation. Through debate and discussion, students will practice their research and speaking skills as they consider how Parliament could further engage young voters now and in the future.
NB: For this programme, your school's constituency MP will be informed of your visit and they will be invited along to meet your pupils and answer their questions. This is subject to the MP’s availability in Westminster at the time of your visit.
Visiting times and information
Open to: UK pupils age 7-18 (Year 3-13 England and Wales, P4-Year 13 Northern Ireland and Primary 4-S6 Scotland)
Duration: 2 hours and 15 minutes
Dates: Mondays-Fridays for details, see How to Book info below
First tours/workshops 9:30-11:45
Last tours/workshops 15:15-17:30
Running throughout the day every 30-45 minutes
Places per session: 32 (to include pupils and adults)
Please ensure that you have the minimum adult:pupil ratio of 1:15 (age 7-18) for safe supervision around the estate.
Due to high demand for our programmes, we ask for a minimum group size of 5 pupils and no more than 2 accompanying adults. If you are booking for under 15 people in total (including adults), please be aware that we may combine your group with another of the same age in order to share to visit.
However, we welcome pupils with SEN - please contact us to discuss your requirements.
If you think your pupils may be anxious about their visit, you can go through the visit with them before the trip, in class, with our downloadable visit story.
How to book
Bookings for our Representation and voting tour and workshops are taken through our telephone bookings days.
Parliament’s Education Service reserves the right to cancel visits at short notice due to changes in Parliamentary Business. On the rare occasions where this is necessary, we will offer to re-book your visit.
You can check what availability we have left for spring term 2017 bookings on our Short Notice Bookings page and call us on 0207 219 4496.
We have extremely limited availability for summer term 2017 for visits between 18 April and 21 July 2017 (excepting the following dates: Mon 1-Wed 3 May, Mon 8-Wed 10 May, Mon 15-Wed 17 May, Mon 22-Wed 24 May and the week commencing 29 May).
Please note that Parliament's Education Service programmes are extremely popular and fill up quickly.
Before calling us on bookings day, please read our information for bookings day
Information to help you plan a safe visit
Map of the Parliamentary estate
Tours with workshop FAQs