by Gordon Lamont
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To introduce opportunities to get creatively involved with democracy.
Preparation and materials
- Note: This assembly was created to use in January 2014. If you are coming to this later, visit Parliament’s Education Service website (at: www.parliament.uk/education) for up-to-date news of competitions and awards.
- This assembly focuses on two of the UK Parliament’s public engagement activities with young people – you might like to look at the following in advance:
– Speaker’s School Council Awards at: www.speakersschoolcouncil.org
– Lights, Camera, Parliament! at: www.makewav.es/lcp (see www.makewav.es/story/485967/title/lightscameraparliament2013winners for examples of past winning entries – you could show this to the children in Step 4 below if you wish) – at the time of writing, the prizes have yet to be announced so check the website for details.
- See also:
– www.assemblies.org.uk/pri/1770/its-not-fair, which explores the idea of fairness in relation to achieving votes for women
– www.parliament.uk/education/teaching-resources-lesson-plans/primary-school-debating-pack, for primary debating resources.
- Note that this assembly will need to be followed up to explore the ideas the children come up with.
- Ask the children what is meant by the word ‘democracy’.
Value all responses and draw out the idea that it is about shared decisionmaking and includes accepting the view of the majority (that is, the view held by most people in the group).
- Ask for a show of hands to indicate whether the following decisions are democratically made or not:
– a ruler announces that everyone should wear green socks on Wednesdays;
– a class votes on who should care for the guinea pig in the holidays;
– Samina wants to go to the park and screams until her parents take her;
– elections are held for the new school council.
Point out that the clues to the democratic decisions are the words ‘election’ and ‘vote’.
- Explain that there are two exciting opportunities in January to get involved with democracy in a hands-on and dynamic way – both run by Parliament. Briefly introduce the Speaker’s School Council Awards, explaining that school council projects which have made a difference in schools or communities are eligible to enter. Big or small – it doesn’t matter; they just need to have led to positive change. The winners get to go behind the scenes in Parliament and meet the Speaker.
- Talk, too, about Lights, Camera, Parliament!, which has a filmmaking focus. Children are asked to make (or plan) a short film about a new law that they would like to introduce.
At this point, show one of last year’s winning films from the link given in the Preparation and materials section above, if using.
- Let the children know who they should talk to in school to get further information about either event and explain that they will be hearing soon about some of the ideas they have come up with in the assembly.
Time for reflection
Ask the children if they can put together a film idea about a new law that they’d like to see made. It can be for anything that they feel strongly about, something which will make a big difference to them or other people.
Ask, too, if they know of a school council project that they think deserves to win an award. Do they have an idea for something they’d like the school council to do?