Parliament’s Education Centre was officially opened by Professor Brian Cox on 15 July 2015.
The Centre, which is situated at the North End of Victoria Tower Gardens, is a world-class education facility that inspires and connects young people with Parliament and democracy. It is a dynamic, stimulating environment, distinct from the school environment. It makes use of creative and immersive technology to create a unique learning experience that generates a sense of anticipation in groups entering the space, and from which groups depart feeling inspired and excited about their Parliament.
The Centre's learning spaces
Each of the learning spaces has a theme which is intended to add to the exciting experience of visiting the Education Centre. Four of the learning spaces will be themed, respectively, Commons, Lords, Monarchy, and My Parliament.
The Commons, Lords and Monarchy rooms each contain augmented reality experiences. In the Commons, Sir Winston Churchill introduces young people to the Chamber; in the Lords, students can explore a 3D model of the chamber and follow the Yeoman Usher as he puts the mace in place each session; and, in the Monarchy room, portraits of Queen Victoria and King Charles I come to life and talk about their relationship with Parliament.
Immersive ‘Discovery’ space
This is a sensory, interactive room that plunges students into an immersive environment via the use of 360° projection technology. Three experiences have initially been developed:
- 15 minute virtual tour through Parliament and democracy’s history: The Parliament Story
- Virtual recreations of the House of Commons and House of Lords chambers
- Recreations of an historical event connected to each Chamber: the 1908 suffragettes protest in the House of Commons, and an attempt to gain access to the House of Lords chamber in 1739 by the Duchess of Queensbury.
Important outcomes of the Education Centre
- It will more than double the number of young people able to visit Parliament with their schools, increasing the number of student visitors each year from 45,000 to 100,000
- It will provide much-needed facilities for visiting schools, including a lunch space, bag-storage area and dedicated toilet facilities
- It will provide, for the first time, a dedicated learning environment for Parliament’s education work.
Booking a visit
Image: Parliamentary Copyright/Roger Harris