After an early start, we arrived in Tamworth around 11am to break up the long journey with a spot of ice skating. Many students were impressive on the ice, such as Lewis Topping in Year 8, taking to skating like a duck to water; others were somewhat less graceful in their attempts to remain upright!
First stop in the capital itself was the London Eye. Amazing views of London at dusk made for a memorable experience, although some staff and students discovered they were rather nervous about heights! Next on the itinerary was a delicious Chinese meal in London’s Chinatown, where the staff of Wong Kei’s made sure we did not go hungry.
After an overnight stay in a local youth hostel, we spent the next day exploring the Palace of Westminster. Once through security, students were given a tour of one of the most important—and famous—buildings in the world. They were able to see Westminster Hall, the place where Charles I was put on trial for treason after the English Civil War, where kings and queens lie in state before their funeral, and where people like Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama have addressed Members of Parliament.
We were able to see the House of Commons, where great leaders have addressed the nation. There was also a chance for us to watch debates taking place in both the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
After seeing places that have played such an important part in our nation’s history, students then took part in a workshop about democracy and the importance of being able to have a say in how our country is run. We met our local MP, Frank Field, who spoke about several issues that the students feel are of great importance, such as Brexit and concerns about the gender pay gap. As always, the students asked probing questions and spoke eloquently.
Finally it was time to return home, tired but excited after an exhilarating journey into our nation’s history.