International Day of Democracy – September 15th 2019

We are certainly living in interesting times with regards to the democratic process in our country at the moment! The International Day of Democracy held annually on September 15th may be a perfect date to examine democracy with your students or even look at democratic processes within the school as this is also the time a lot of schools will be selecting their School Councils.

Democracy provides the natural environment for the protection and effective realisation of human rights. These values are embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and further developed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which enshrines a host of political rights and civil liberties underpinning meaningful democracies.

The link between democracy and human rights is captured in article 21(3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states:

“The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”

The video below from the United Nations sets out what the International Day of Democracy is and why it was created, this overview also provides information on what Democracy is and the part that the United Nations plays.

A great resource to use on this day is British Values from LGfL. British Values were first defined in the Prevent Strategy as “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”. But all too often, teachers feel they have inadequate support and resourcing with which to develop this important part of the broader school curriculum.

We have sought to meet this need by providing high-quality, safe and relevant teaching materials that foster deeper understanding and informed debate amongst young people. We do not aim to deliver a definitive view for teachers and learners to ‘accept and learn’, but to enable discussion in a safe, tolerant and supportive environment. The video below explains what is democracy.

‘Developing British Values’ is both a stand alone learning resource in its own right and also as a gateway to other ideas, assets and materials (via the Related themes and Further assets & resources menus) that can be used for one-off, dedicated activities, or for embedding core themes into a planned series of lessons.

Commonwealth, Parliament and Democracy resource from The British council, created in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat and Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, will help to provide students with factual information and cross-curricular activities, enabling them to learn and think critically about the Commonwealth, its parliament, and the topic of democracy more broadly. The activities also aim to expand students’ knowledge and understanding, provide opportunities to develop their core skills, all the while encouraging them to explore and reflect on local and global issues. Each unit contains information for teachers, ideas for discussion and suggestions for cross-curricular activities. These can be used as starting points in individual lessons, or as elements of a larger cross-curricular joint project involving collaboration over a number of subjects with a partner school overseas.

This time of year is also when most schools are electing their school councils, Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) says that children and young people should have a say in decisions that affect their lives.  A school council can provide a meaningful way in which pupils can voice their opinions and have their views taken into account in decisions which impact upon them. There is a short overview from CBBC Newsround which explains what a school council is and the roles, perfect for showing to younger children or new Year 3 pupils. Children’s Rights Wales have also produced a great pack for schools councils, with a range of games, ideas and an activity pack for staff and pupils. There is also this toolkit from Leicestershire Healthy schools programme including activities, roles and guidance.

To inspire pupils why not watch a video from Kid President – the one below is entitled A Pep Talk from Kid President:

 

Parliament UK has a fantastic range of resources for looking at democracy.  The free teaching resources include videos, downloadable lesson plans, booklets, assemblies, interactive whiteboard resources, loan boxes and publications. Their interactive games are also ideal for use both in the classroom or as homework activities www.parliamentgames.co.uk.

Into Film also have a range of resources that schools can use when looking at democracy including this assembly featuring thought provoking questions and film clips based around films on the themes of democracy and debate. The assembly encourages young people to reflect on their attitudes to democracy and the portrayal of young people and politics in feature films. There are also a range of clips from the BBC entitled Democracy in Action that could from part of citizenship lessons.

What are you doing to promote democracy in your school remember you can share your work with the wider community via our Twitter or Facebook pages.

#poweredbyPledge2020

UK Parliament Week 12th – 18th November 2018

UK Parliament Week which runs from 12th – 18th November 2018, sees people of all ages across the UK, from Orkney to the Isle of Wight, take part in events and activities that engage them with the UK Parliament, explore what it means to them, and empowers them to get involved. You can also get involved on Twitter by following @YourUKParl.

There are lots of resources to support you in schools during this week.

How Parliament works

UK Parliament have created some short and handy videos explaining how the UK Parliament works for you to use during your event, or to brush up on your facts before hand!  The video below describes how Parliament works in nearly 60 seconds. You can find all the videos on their YouTube page.

Vote 100

UK Parliament Week 2018 forms a part of the UK Parliament’s Vote 100 programme, which celebrates 100 years since the first women got the vote. They have compiled some resources to help you explore the struggle for equal suffrage during your UK Parliament Week event or activity.

As part of Vote 100, women share their personal stories of how laws passed by Parliament have changed their lives for the better.  #YourStoryOurHistory, are three short films focusing on laws that have contributed to women’s rights and continued to empower them.

They also have lots of age-specific learning resources about the UK Parliament, its work and its history at parliament.uk/education.

The resources cover lesson plans, assemblies, booklets and games including MP for a week. Challenge your students to survive a week in politics and keep their party, their voters and the media happy. Students are scored according to the decisions they make. The game adapts to players by setting less or more demanding tasks depending on how well they’re doing. The game gives young people a virtual taste of life as an MP. Highlighting the range and value of MPs’ work, the game builds students’ understanding of the role of a Member of Parliament.

Why not invite your local MP into school, they can offer excellent insight into the work of Parliament, as well as answering questions that your students may have. Find out who your local MP is and how to contact them.

LGfL has worked in partnership with The Royal Collection to create a unique resource about the daily work of The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace.  Exclusive access has been granted to LGfL to film the key staff members as they go about their daily work.  The resource features extensive video resources showing the techniques and rationale as to why centuries old traditions continue to support the Royal Household and the significance they have for wider society, including the State Opening of Parliament.

In the ‘Pupil Parliament’ resource, students can see how one London school has modelled its student council on the British Parliament. This includes the inner-workings of raising an issue and how it might develop to become a parliamentary motion. Pupils give insight into their roles, ambitions and achievements as Cabinet Ministers. ‘In the Community’ showcases how, through developing speaking and listening skills, young people’s voices can reach wide-ranging audiences and how they can make a difference! The Lewisham Young Mayors’ Group is one such example.

You can also research Parliament via The Guardian and The Observer News Archive.  The LGfL News Archive is an online collection of the Guardian and Observer newspapers.  It contains every Guardian newspaper printed from 1821 and every Sunday Observer from 1791, making it the oldest Sunday newspaper in the world.  The newspapers are an amazing historical record of all the events over the past two centuries and an extensive resource to be used across the whole of the Secondary curriculum as well as at UKS2.

What ever you chose to do for UK Parliament Week, why not share your work on our Twitter or Facebook pages