Introduce Parliament with this animation for students aged 11-19. It covers a brief introduction to how Parliament began, the structure of Parliament (including the House of Commons and House of Lords), how Government is held to account, making laws, elections and voting and how to use your democratic rights.

Time required: 8.5 minutes

The asset is also available to view in the following short chapters on YouTube to introduce specific lessons or activities. Please follow the links provided to watch:

Parliament Structure

Explores the function and makeup of the three parts that make up Parliament: the House of Commons, the House of Lords, and the monarch.
Time required: 2 minutes

Holding Government to Account

Investigates how Government is held to account through Prime Minister and Minister’s questions and select committees.
Time required: 1.5 minutes

Making Laws

Explains the stages a proposal for a new law goes through to become an Act of Parliament.
Time required: 1.5 minutes

Elections and Voting

Examines the UK general election exploring: our right to vote, how candidates and parties gain votes and what happens once elected.
Time required: 2 minutes

Your Voice

Looks at the alternative options available outside of voting to get your voice heard, covering how to contact MPs and Peers or petition and campaign on issues.
Time required: 2 minutes

Learning Outcomes

Students will learn:

  • A brief history of UK Parliament
  • How the House of Commons, House of Lords and monarch combined form Parliament's structure, and the role each plays
  • How Parliament holds the Government to account
  • How laws are made
  • How members are elected to the House of Commons and how general elections work
  • How the public can engage in the democratic process and have a say in how the country is run

For further learning we recommend the following resources:

An Introduction to Parliament – whiteboard resource
This teaching resource is a front-of-the-classroom guide to the House of Commons, House of Lords and monarch. It explores how the UK is governed and how Parliament works and presents the difference between Parliament and Government.

Parliament and Government-whiteboard resource
Help your students to understand the roles of Parliament and Government by using this interactive tool to build a diagram that shows the distinction.

They can explore the structure of the government, including the Prime Minister, government departments and select committees, compared to the shadow cabinet and other parliamentarians who hold Government to account.

Practical information

To view these videos you must be able to use YouTube in your classroom.

Whiteboard resources featured in the further learning section is optimised for use on interactive whiteboards. It requires Flash Player 9 or above and Javascript to be enabled.

Please note: If you were looking for the 'You've Got the Power' films, you may have been redirected here as the animations have now been discontinued due to content becoming out of date. We hope you find this new set of films, 'An Introduction to Parliament', suitable for your needs. In the short term, you can still find the 'You've Got the Power' animations on the Parliament's Education Service YouTube playlist.

Related teaching resources


What is the House of Commons?


What is the House of Lords? - video