"It’s vital for the future democratic health of our nation that young people understand the role and relevance of Parliament. The UK Parliament does not currently have an education centre so it is welcome news that work can begin on a dedicated centre to welcome school groups to their Parliament"
John Thurso MP, Spokesman for the House of Commons Commission
Following planning permission granted in February 2014, the House of Commons recently entered into an Agreement for Lease with the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) to build and occupy the New Education Centre at Victoria Tower Gardens.
Parliament’s Education Service
Parliament’s award-winning Education Service works with schools and Members of both Houses of Parliament to provide free support to young people in developing their understanding of democracy and Parliament. Services are designed to support the political literacy and citizenship education requirements of the national curricula and include visits to Parliament, workshops, and educational resources for students and teachers.
The Parliamentary Education Centre
School visits to Parliament are heavily oversubscribed and over 45,000 7-18 year olds, from across the UK, currently visit Parliament each year via our education programmes. The Parliamentary Education Centre will increase this capacity, giving 100,000 young people a year the opportunity to visit Parliament and learn about their democracy.
The Education Centre will have five dedicated learning spaces in which we will run an exciting range of workshops aimed at informing, engaging and inspiring young people about Parliament, democracy and political literacy (see our website for information on our current education visits programmes).
The Education Centre will be situated at the North End of Victoria Tower Gardens. It has been designed by architects Feilden+Mawson, in conjunction with renowned landscape architect Kim Wilkie, to fit in sympathetically with, and improve the existing landscape and public access of, Victoria Tower gardens. The Education Centre has been designed to achieve a BREEAM 'excellent' rating for environmental sustainability.
Construction of the Education Centre commenced in September 2014 and we expect to begin welcoming the first groups to the Centre in Summer 2015.
"The tours of the Houses of Parliament are excellent and students gain a great deal from actually being there and seeing where debates take place, and along the way learning about the history and procedures as well as enjoying the buildings themselves. The visit brings reality to the theory students have learnt about the workings and processes of government. It is great that the Education Centre will allow even more young people to experience this service"
Rowena Bailey, Community and Trust Liaison Co-ordinator, Lyndon School, Solihull
History of the Education Centre
Discussion of a dedicated space for educational visits began in 2004 and support for the project has been outlined in a number of subsequent reports:
Find out more
Full details of the proposal are available on the Westminster City Council website
To find out more information about the Education Centre, contact Parliament's Education Service