UK Parliament Teacher Ambassador
In January 2018, Mrs Barrett spent three days at the Teachers' Institute, in The Houses of Parliament, to train to be a UK Parliament Teacher Ambassador.
The official Press release from Westminster read:
Gomersal Primary School Teacher selected to be a UK Parliament Teacher Ambassador.
Mandy Barrett, a teacher from Gomersal Primary School in West Yorkshire, has been selected to attend Teachers' Institute at the Houses of Parliament.
Since it's launch in 2006, Teachers' Institute has trained more than 700 teachers from all parts of the UK, giving them a detailed understanding of how the House of Commons and Lords work.
Those taking part in the Teachers' Institute become UK Parliament Teacher Ambassadors following the training, and go on to teach their students and fellow education professionals about democracy and the Houses of Parliament.
Mandy applied to Parliament's open call and was selected from more than 170 applicants to attend the three-day training event in Parliament. Fully funded by Parliament's Education Service, Mandy will question the House of Commons Speaker and the Lord Speaker, and hear from parliamentarians of all parties about their work in the Commons and Lords.
Rt Hon Lord Fowler, The Lord Speaker, said:
"Teachers' Institute is exceptionally well-regarded by the participants each year, and I welcome the opportunity to explain the work of the House of Lords to such an appreciative audience."
Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, said:
"I am proud that this excellent initiative continues to provide such an invaluable service. Better engagement and dialogue with young people is of fundamental importance to our democracy, and I am sure that the UK Parliament Teacher Ambassadors attending Teacher's Institute will find the experience both useful and enlightening."
Parliament's Education Service works with school and Members of both Houses of Parliament to support young people in developing their understanding of Parliament and democracy. Offering free programmes and resources, Parliament's Education Service informs young people about the role, work and history of Parliament through educational visits, tours, publications, outreach and competitions. It connects young people with Parliament and democracy today through active learning, and empowers young people to get involved by equipping them with the knowledge and skills to take part in their democracy. For more information about other programmes available from Parliament's Education Service, visit: www.parliament.uk/education
Our local newspaper 'The Spenborough Guardian' featured an article about Mrs Barrett's travels to London.
Our local MP Tracy Brabin visits school
Local MP, Tracy Brabin visited our school to talk to Mrs Barrett about her experience in the Houses of Parliament. She also spent time talking to 15 members of our school Arts Council, answering some of the questions they had prepared. Our Arts Council members were incredibly excited to meet Tracy and used the opportunity to find out about the role of an MP.
A reporter from the Huddersfield Examiner attended, creating a short video and an article about
Tracy Brabin's visit to our school.
Using resources ordered from Parliament Education Service
We have recently ordered some free resources from the Parliament Education service. The children were incredibly excited to receive envelopes and boxes that were post marked from the House of Commons. These resources are going to be used within our lessons to enhance our learning of Parliament and democracy linked to British Values.
You can find out more about free resources to support Parliamentary topics here:
Learning about Parliament within our lessons
We have been incorporating new themes into our topics, based on Mrs Barrett's experiences in Parliament. Year 2 children have recently visited the art room to create mono prints based on portraits of suffragettes. We carefully followed instructions to create our prints and learnt about the lives of Emmeline Pankhurst and Emily Davidson. These prints were then displayed in school for everyone to see.
2018 marks 100 years since some women were given the right to vote in UK Parliament.
After an interview with local journalist, Duncan Atkins, The Spenborough Guardian ran another, more detailed article about Mrs Barrett's visit to The Houses of Parliament.
Parliament Loan Box
We ordered the Parliament Loan Box, from Westminster, to help understand how The House of Commons and The House of Lords debate bills in Parliament. The loan box is free to access and is a wonderful resource to use with children of all ages. It can be used to develop classroom debates, introduce the concept of law making and support pupils’ understanding of the democratic process through active learning.
You can find more information about ordering a loan box for your school by following the link below:
We have used the loan box with children in our school and have thoroughly enjoyed the process. It was difficult, at first, to debate certain topics, but with practise, we are now able to argue a point in a productive way, listening carefully to our peers and responding accordingly. Learning valuable democratic skills. Inside the loan box you will find: cloth backdrops of The House of Lords and The House of Commons, clerk's wig, mace, a bill, the Speaker's robes, despatch box, a division bell and a teacher's pack full of lesson plans, facts and ideas.
We have debated many issues, these include: whether the government should provide free school meals for children in primary school, whether we should wear school uniform or our own clothes to school, whether women should have the right to votes and whether the government should provide free fruit and milk to all children. Over 300 children have had the opportunity to be part of a debate using the Parliamentary Loan Box.
Quote from a parent:
"My son, Thomas came home from school very excited today, discussing issues
they'd talked about in class, during their parliament lesson. He was 'Buzzing'!"
This work has been documented on the Kirklees vote 100 website - use the following link to access this:
School Arts Council Visit The Houses of Parliament
Six members of our school Arts Council were invited to speak in an APPG meeting for Art, Craft and Design in The House of Commons. We met our local MP, Tracy Brabin in the central lobby who gave us advice on how to speak in public. We then had a 10 minute session in the meeting to say how we felt about the Arts in education and what our hopes are for the future. This was a fantastic opportunity to show our children how democracy works and that it is possible to have a voice in Parliament.
To find out more about our day in The House of Commons please follow this link:
Ms Brabin, who was on hand to offer guidance and support to the children, said: “I was seriously proud to introduce Gomersal Primary’s Arts Council in Parliament. Working with schools is one of the most enjoyable parts of my job and it’s double the pleasure when it involves a school on my doorstep. “Matilda, William, Eva, Samuel, Grace and Harriet gave such passionate speeches and genuinely moved the MPs present with their heartfelt, articulate and powerful words. Their love for the arts and the hard work and dedication of the school is to be lauded and it’s something we can all learn from when we look at formulating the classrooms of the future. The creative subjects play such a significant role in education and it’s critical that they are given the funding, support and attention they deserve.”
Upon our return to school ours Arts Council and Mrs Barrett presented an assembly to the whole school. During this assembly we talked about our visit to The Houses of Parliament and why it is important to use your right to vote when you are older. We also talked about the importance of contacting your local MP to talk about any concerns you may have. We are proof that it doesn't matter what your age is - you have a voice in Parliament!
International Women's Day event
All of our children in Year 6 and Year 5 learnt about international women's day and helped to create resources for our local MP, Tracy Brabin to use at a public event held in our constituency. Our children looked at imagery from the past and used them as inspiration to create colourful bunting that displayed a powerful message. Some of our children and our head teacher then attended the event which was held during the weekend. Throughout this project we learnt numerous facts about how women's rights have significantly changed through history.
This work has been featured on the Kirklees vote100 website
You can find the link here:
Sharing Parliament resources with other schools
As part of our Ambassador role we are sharing good practice with other local primary schools. Mrs Barrett delivered a Power Point presentation, shared Parliament resources and offered planning ideas within a staff meeting for local teachers. This all counts toward our ambition to be a Gold Ambassador School.