Teaching children about voting, elections and politics

Date Posted: 13/06/2017

Beamish Suffragette activity

Getting young people engaged with politics isn't easy. However, there are several school trips available across the UK that are designed to bring the subject to life, for all age groups.

One of the big stories that has come out of the 2017 general election is that turnout for young voters has increased. 

On Friday 9th June Sky News reported that 66.4% of 18 to 24 year olds turned up to vote in the 2017 general election, compared to 43% in 2015. 

The same day, The Telegraph published a news article under the headline 'How young people swung the election for Labour'. 

Below, we suggest some school trips to help pupils understand politics.

Parliament, London

The UK parliament offers an education service for pupils aged five to 18. Workshops and learning sessions take place in a dedicated Parliamentary Education Centre, which features learning rooms and augmented reality experiences. 

A Representation and Voting tour is available for pupils aged seven to 18. The experience begins with a tour of the Palace of Westminster and continues with a series of interactive learning sessions. 

Pupils aged seven to 16 will have the opportunity to take part in a mock general election and experience what it's like to be both a candidate and a voter. Older pupils, meanwhile, will explore the concept of democratic representation and debate the pros and cons of various alternative voting systems.

National Justice Museum, Manchester

You can introduce pupils to the origins of votes for women at The National Justice Museum. The museum runs a two-part study day for Secondary school children that teaches them about the Suffragette movement. 

The experience takes place at the People's History Museum in Manchester and Manchester Crown Court and uses performance, interactive drama sessions and gallery explorations to teach students about the votes for women campaign and life in the 1800s. 

The course links to the curriculum in History, Drama, English, PSHE, and Citizenship. 

York Castle Museum, York

York Castle Museum offers a workshop for Key Stage 1 that helps pupils discover what it meant to be a suffragette, and teaches children about the contribution that Emily Davidson made to the quest for women's rights. As part of their experience pupils get to dress up in period costumes and go on a Suffragette march. 

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire

One of Britain's most revered prime ministers was born at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. In fact, there is now a permanent exhibition on display that offers an insight into both the private and political life of famous war time leader, Sir Winston Churchill. 

Visiting pupils will be able to follow a timeline, on which some of Churchill’s most important political decisions are highlighted and explained. There's also a memorial garden at the site, and a Walk in Churchill's Footsteps trail is available. 

Beamish, County Durham 

Beamish runs a campaign and debate session for Key Stage 3 pupils that's themed around the Suffragette movement. As part of the experience pupils change into costume and hold a rally in the town. 

Half the class will take on the role of Suffragettes and the other half will play opposers to the cause. The session will end in a debate between the two sides. 

Pictured: Children taking part in a Suffragette activity at Beamish.

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