About Representation and voting tour and workshop
Please note that this visit is available to UK schools only
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:
Years 3-6 (England and Wales) Y4-Y7 (Northern Ireland) P3-P7 (Scotland) - age 7-11:
Pupils will take part in a general election where they will experience what it is like to be a candidate and voter. The concept of the constituency is defined and explained before pupils are divided into competing political parties to create their own manifestos. Each pledge they make has a financial cost inviting pupils to consider how they will balance attractive manifesto pledges against the amount their constituents would be willing to pay.
Once each party has presented its manifesto to the group, we hold our election using a real ballot box. The successful candidates from each constituency form the ‘House of Commons’ and the difference between Parliament and Government is reinforced.
Years 7-11 (England and Wales) Y8-Y12 (Northern Ireland) S1-S4 (Scotland) - age 12-16:
Pupils will take part in a general election where they will experience what it is like to be a candidate and voter. The concept of the constituency is defined and explained before pupils are divided into competing political parties to create their own manifestos. Through discussion in their parties they will decide upon manifesto promises to make to the electorate. They will be asked to consider, how as the Government, they would pay for these promises.
In their parties, the pupils will then participate in hustings where their ideas and promises are presented to the rest of the group. Following this, the election is held as pupils are asked to place their vote in the Polling Station. The successful candidates from each constituency are announced and form the ‘House of Commons’. The difference between Parliament and Government is reinforced as we discover how the Government is formed after the election.
Years 12-13 (England and Wales) Y13-Y14 (Northern Ireland) S5-S6 (Scotland) - age 16-18:
Pupils are invited to explore democratic representation in the UK, how this has developed, whether different voting systems 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.
The pupils will compete as political parties and design a two pledge manifesto before putting it to the test at the polls. The votes are counted using the Proportional Representation and First Past the Post voting systems. Results will then be analysed to assess how effectively the people are being represented.
Through an interactive quiz, debate and discussion, students will practice their research and speaking skills as they consider how Parliament could further increase democratic participation 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
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 on our Short Notice Bookings page.
Information to help you plan a safe visit
Map of the Parliamentary estate
Tours with workshop FAQs