School council members from Howard Park Community School in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire, were invited to meet the Prime Minister’s wife at 10 Downing Street as part of their London visit.

Howard Park Community School

Source: Rory Arnold / No 10 Downing Street

All smiles as students met with Mrs Murty at Number 10.

Ten children from the school in years 4, 5 6, who were elected as school councillors by their peers, along with the head boy, were invited to the Prime Minister’s official residence as part of the ‘Lessons at 10 initiative’.

Created this year by Akshata Murty, ‘Lessons at 10’ welcomes children from across the UK to learn about the building’s fascinating history, as well as discussing the importance of school council and the role that the Government plays in society.

Howard Park Community School was one of the select few invited along, with students also having a tour of the Houses of Parliament as part of their London adventure, before finishing the day in Pizza Hut.

Schools visiting UK Parliament can expect a tour of both the House of Commons and House of Lords, as well as peek inside the historic Westminster Hall, with educational sessions also available to help bring politics to life.

Howard Park Community School

Students gathered for a quick picture outside number 10 before heading inside to meet Mrs Murty.

Rachel Jinks, teacher and school council lead, said: “We had arranged to go to the Houses of Parliament as part of their education outreach, and a couple of weeks before we went, we got an email saying the Prime Minister’s wife was starting a school’s programme and asked if we’d like to trial the initiative. We jumped at the chance.

“We didn’t really arrange most of it and it was kind of just good luck I suppose, but it was amazing and the children got so much out of it. 

“Mrs Murty spent a good half an hour with our pupils and they’ve all come back to school with a great story to tell. I think they do understand how unusual it was that they got to do it. We know that this is really rare and you don’t just get to look around Downing Street!”

“It made me realise how hard it would be to actually get to be Prime Minister and how hard it must be for the Prime Minister’s children to live in the spotlight.” 

Jon, Year 6.

Students were able to get a glimpse into a world that is usually off limits to the public. Rachel continued: “The children got to see the artwork, architecture and the history of the building and the tour guide made it really relevant. The children really enjoyed it and found it really interesting. Everyone was really warm and welcoming.”

What did students make of the day?

Year 5 pupil Charlie said: “Mrs Murty was so kind, she was so happy to answer all our questions and we felt like she had loads of time to listen to us. She also asked us questions and I liked the fact she really wanted to get to know us.

Howard Park Community School

The group enjoyed a visit to the Houses of Parliament as part of their London adventure.

“We saw so many amazing landmarks, like the Houses of Parliament, Downing Street and Trafalgar Square. We’ve only seen pictures before. The Tube was a whole new experience, it was like we were flying around under London! It was such an amazing experience that I’ll never forget!

“The Downing Street toilets were the fanciest I’ve ever seen!” 

Alhagie, Year 6

The Houses of Parliament visit had a big impact on both Jackson (Year 5) and Lexi (Year 6). Jackson said: “Not being able to sit on the chairs in the Houses of Parliament made me realise how important a place we were in.” Lexi added: “It was interesting learning about the difference between the House of Commons and the House of Lords.”

Year 6 student Alhagie said: “The Downing Street toilets were the fanciest I’ve ever seen! From talking to Mrs Murty we found out she never expected to be married to the Prime Minister and we found out how hard the Prime Minister must work.”

Howard Park Community School

The group spent time along the Thames and enjoyed seeing the London Eye for the first time.

Rachel Jinks added: “It’s been brilliant to follow up with the students once we got back to school about their understanding of democracy and for them to share their experience with the other pupils in the school by leading an assembly.

“The experience we had will feed into our British Values and PSHE lessons next year, as well as meaning we can celebrate UK Parliament Week in November (6th - 12th) more meaningfully.”

Head teacher Jonathan Pickles said: “It was a fantastic opportunity for the children and the staff to visit Downing Street and The Houses of Parliament. We could see a big difference in the children who visited; they understood they had had such a rare opportunity.”