Referendums discussion activity

Referendums discussion activity

This downloadable activity explores how referendums have been used in the UK and the arguments for and against them.

pdf file - 394 KB


When have referendums been used to make decisions in the UK? Should they be held more often? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Explore these questions with your students using the discussion cards as prompts to suggest arguments for and against referendums.

Time Required: 30 mins

Learning outcomes:

Students will:

  • Explore the advantages and disadvantages of referendums in a democracy
  • Consider issues such as the influence of the media, public participation in politics, bias in referendum questions, the cost of government, and other arguments for and against referendums 
  • Understand key terms such as legitimacy, sovereignty, and direct democracy 
  • Consider a range of viewpoints on a complex issue and present their own point of view 
  • Improve their verbal communication skills and contribute to group discussions

Practical Information

The discussion cards can be printed and cut up to hand out to your students.

The accompanying teachers' notes suggest a range of different activities using the cards to explore the topic of referendums.

pdf file - 394 KB

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Related articles

An article for schools explaining what a referendum is, what issues have been decided by referendum in the UK, and what happens when a referendum is called.