Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Visiting the House of Commons - a Hexham Middle School student report

In the spring we had a visit by Elizabeth Nixon, and some of her classmates, from Hexham Middle along with their inspirational maths teacher, Cath Parker. I asked Elizabeth to jot down her impressions on the day. She called it: My Thoughts on my visit to Parliament

I have reproduced it in its entirety - it encapsulates a walk around the Commons, a meeting with the Education Minister, Liz Truss, MP, and her impressions of parliament: as always I would encourage all constituents, parents, and schools to try and make a trip. This is your parliament! I am merely a temporary custodian of this job. But not a day goes past when the hair on the back of my neck does not go up as I walk these rooms and stand both in the chamber of the Commons and the cavernous Westminster Hall, built in 1097 by William II (Rufus), the son of William the Conqueror, and where King Charles I was sentenced to death for treason.
Parliament is a special place: come and visit. But don't listen to me - listen to Elizabeth:

"It was the 24 April 2013 and I and two other classmates, my Maths Teacher, Mrs Parker, and Mrs Muir, met at Newcastle Central Station under the big clock to board the train to London Kings Cross.

I was absolutely terrified but very excited to be coming to Parliament to meet Guy Opperman, my local MP for Hexham, and Liz Truss, MP, the Under Secretary for Education.

On arriving at Kings Cross we got in a black London cab and made our way to Portcullis House. Unfortunately, we were late in arriving and we had hoped to sit in on Prime Minister Questions, which was I so looking forward to doing, One day I really hope I can someday still do.

We met Mr Opperman’s caseworker, Philip. We were shown Mr Opperman’s office so we could leave our bags, then we taken to Westminster Hall and through to the House of Commons.

I sat and watched in front of screen some of that days debates. When I left Philip gave us historical facts about the history of the House of Commons, which I really found very interesting.

Then we were rushed out of the House of Commons to meet Guy Opperman to go see Liz Truss to talk about why we were there in the first place. I felt that Liz Truss was very interested in what we had to say and she did seem to listen to everything we said, It was then I felt that what I’d written had actually made a difference and that what goes on in Parliament is actually influenced by what we say, even when we’re children, and that our MP’s are there to help us.

Philip then took us all to Parliament Square where we had our pictures taken and we even went up onto the roof top of Parliament, which was extremely interesting.

When it was time to leave, I wanted to stay. I hope one day, if not as a child then as an adult, that I can come back one day, maybe even as a MP! "

Elizabeth Nixon
Age 12