Debating in Parliament tour and workshop

Debating in Parliament tour and workshop

KS3-5 pupils explore the elements of Parliamentary debating and why it is such an important part of our political culture.

About Debating in Parliament tour and workshop

Please note that this visit is available to UK schools only

KS3-5 English, Citizenship

Debating is the chosen method of discussion at the heart of Parliament. After your Palace of Westminster tour, which may include watching part of a debate in one of the chambers, your workshop will focus on what makes a debate effective. By participating in group work and video analysis, pupils draw out successful debating techniques while learning about Parliament's particular styles of discussion. This programme will support pupils to form arguments, present their ideas and respond to challenges in their evidence.

NB: Parliament is a working building and access to different parts of the Palace of Westminster, as part of your tour, will vary due to Parliamentary business.
Your visit might include:

  • A visit to the Commons and/or Lords gallery to observe the MPs or Lords debating (not guaranteed)
  • Central Lobby, at the very heart of the Parliamentary Estate.
  • St. Stephen’s Hall, the home of the original House of Commons
  • Westminster Hall, the last remaining part of the original Palace

NB: For this programme, your school's constituency MP will be informed of your visit and they will be invited along to meet your pupils and answer their questions. This is subject to the MP’s availability in Westminster at the time of your visit.

Visiting times and information

Open to: UK pupils, age 11-18 only (Year 7-11 England & Wales, Year 8-12 Northern Ireland, S1-5 Scotland)

Duration: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Dates:  Mondays-Fridays - for details, see How to Book info below for autumn term 2016   

First tours/workshops 9:30-11:45

Last tours/workshops 15:15-17:30

Running throughout the day every 30-45 minutes

Places per session: 32 (to include pupils and adults)

Please ensure that you have the minimum adult:pupil ratio of 1:15 (age 11-17), for safe supervision around the estate.

Due to high demand for our programmes, we ask for a minimum group size of 5 pupils and no more than 2 accompanying adults. If you are booking for under 15 people in total (including adults), please be aware that we may combine your group with another of the same age in order to share to visit.

However, we welcome pupils with SEN - please contact us to discuss your requirements.

If you think your pupils may be anxious about their visit, you can go through the visit with them before the trip, in class, with our downloadable visit story.

How to book

Bookings for Debating in Parliament tours and workshops are taken through our telephone bookings days.

We are currently booking for:

  • You can check what availability we have left for Summer term 2016 bookings on our Short Notice Bookings page and call us on 020 72194496 .
  • We will be booking for Spring Term 2017 in September 2016. Spring term dates are between Tuesday 3rd January to Friday 31st March (expecting half term 13th February - 17th February).

Please note that Parliament's Education Service programmes are extremely popular and fill up quickly.

Before calling us on bookings day, please read our information for bookings day


Information to help you plan a safe visit

Information to help you plan a safe visit


pdf file - 193 KB

Map of the Parliamentary estate

Map of the Parliamentary estate


pdf file - 449 KB

Tours with workshop FAQs

Tours with workshop FAQs


Related teaching resources


Debating resource: Create the Debate


Debating a Bill - whiteboard resource


How Parliament works in nearly 60 seconds


Constitution debate pack

State schools planning to visit Parliament may be eligible to have their travel costs subsidised under this scheme.

Schools transport subsidy