Elections and voting workshop and tour

Elections and voting workshop and tour

A workshop showing students how voting works and answering key questions such as what are elections and what is democracy?

About elections and voting workshops

Please note that this visit is available to UK schools only.

The visit begins with an awe-inspiring tour of the Palace of Westminster. This introduces the concepts of democracy and representation along with the essential vocabulary students will need to talk about Parliament.

Because the Palace is the home of our working Parliament we cannot always show you everything.

Your visit might include:

  • The House of Commons or House of Lords chambers
  • A visit to the public gallery to observe the MPs or Lords working
  • Westminster Hall, the last remaining part of the original Palace
  • Central Lobby, at the very heart of the Parliamentary Estate.

After the tour the action moves to one of our comfy workshop spaces where students will participate in their own ‘general election’.

KS2-3

The concept of the constituency is defined and explained before students are divided into competing teams, their political parties, to create manifestos.

Each pledge they make increases the cost of a can of fizzy drink so parties have to consider how they will balance attractive manifesto pledges against the amount their constituents would be willing to pay for a soft drink.

Once each party has presented its manifesto to the group we hold our election using a real ballot box. The successful candidates in each constituency form our ‘House of Commons’ and the difference between Parliament and government is reinforced.

KS4

This general election is used as the basis to compare and contrast several voting systems. Representing competing political parties they will design a two pledge manifesto before putting it to the test at the polls.

Votes are counted using the First Past the Post system, the winning party is announced, and the results are analysed to assess the strength of the resulting government and how effectively the people are being represented. The same votes are counted using proportional representation and the results are critically assessed.

KS5

This general election is used as the basis to compare and contrast several voting systems. Representing competing political parties they will design a two pledge manifesto before putting it to the test at the polls.

Votes are counted using the First Past the Post system, the winning party is announced, and the results are analysed to assess the strength of the resulting government and how effectively the people are being represented. The same votes are counted using alternative voting systems which could include proportional representation and the Additional Member System and these alternative methods are critically assessed.

Depending on the prior knowledge of the students, the systems may be set in an international context. 

NB: For this programme your school's constituency MP will be informed of your visit and they will be invited along to meet your students and answer their questions. This is subject to the MP’s availability in Westminster at the time of your visit and we find that this is possible around 60% of the time.Please note that during the Dissolution and General Election period in April and early May 2015, there will be no MPs in Parliament, so the Education Service will be unable to invite them to your visit if it falls during this time.

Visiting times and information

Open to: UK students from Key Stage 2 to 5

Places per session: 32 (to include students and teachers)

Dates: See 'How to Book' section below

Duration: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Tours with elections and voting workshops will run at the following times from Monday - Friday

09:30 - 11:45

09:45 - 12:00

10:00 - 12:15 (Monday & Friday only)

11:00 - 13:15

11:15 - 13:30

11:30 - 13:45 (Friday only)

12:30 - 14:45

12:45 - 15:00

13:00 - 15:15 (Friday only)

14:00 - 16:15

14:15 - 16:30

NB These times will dependent on other programmes running

How to book

Bookings for our elections and voting workshop and tour are taken through our telephone bookings days. We advise that you note the booking line opening date for the term you're interested in:  

  • Spring term for visits 5 January - 27 March 2015 is now fully booked:
  • (NB : Education programmes will not run 16 - 20 February 2015)
  • Summer term  for visits 13 April - 21 July 2015 (excluding 4 May, 18-20 May, 25 - 29 May and 1 - 3 June ) now fully booked
  • Our next bookings day is : Thursday 30 April 2015 for Autumn term. Lines open at 8:30 am

On the day please call 0207 219 4496 and we can only take requests via telephone, not e-mail.
 
Before calling our telephone line on bookings day, make sure you know what to expect by reading our information for bookings day
 
Please note that Parliament's Education Service programmes are extremely popular and fill up quickly.

Information to help you plan a safe visit

Information to help you plan a safe visit

PDF

pdf file - 192 KB

Map of the Parliamentary estate

Map of the Parliamentary estate

PDF

pdf file - 545 KB

Tours with workshop FAQs

Tours with workshop FAQs

PDF

pdf file - 154 KB

Related teaching resources

KS2-4, CITIZENSHIP, WHITEBOARD

Elections and Voting - whiteboard resource

KS4, CITIZENSHIP, LESSON PLAN, WORKSHEET

Voting rights lesson plan

KS4-5, GOVERNMENT & POLITICS, CITIZENSHIP, VIDEO

The General Election Xplained for key stages 4-5 - video

KS2-5, Citizenship

Schools transport subsidy

Groups of young people making Education Visits to Parliament from UK constituencies may be eligible for a transport subsidy