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House of Lords Visit

House of Lords Visit
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Year 11 debate in the House of Lords – English Speaking Union

| By Ms Lam |

Ten Year 11 students were invited to take part in a debate in the House of Lords to consider the topic: “how can we a reach a sustained future?”

After an early train to London and the Houses of Parliament, they had the opportunity to network with fellow students, members of the English Speaking Union and a few lords and baronesses. Having had brunch on the Lords’ Terrace, students entered the most lavishly decorated room in the Palace of Westminster: the historic Lords Chamber.

The debate consisted of three main focuses around the topic of climate change. Speakers from all over the UK were present, including secondary schools, university students, members of the House of Lords, members of the Royal Meteorological Society and members of the Royal Geographical Society.

The first debate was led by Lord Speaker Fowler which focused on: “are governments responsible for tackling climate change?” Chloe was selected as a responsive speaker to the statement: “it is our individual responsibility to tackle climate change”. Chloe presented a very thoughtful and organised response to the statement. Jay spoke as an impromptu speaker when the floor was open to comment.

The second debate, led by Deputy Speaker Baroness McIntosh, considered: “should we make sacrifices now to benefit people in the future?”  In a similar fashion, Jomari  was selected as a prepared speaker arguing that: “we need a balanced approach to tackle climate change; sacrifices need to be made by individuals, but there should be a greater emphasis on government also needing to lead the way by reducing our impact on climate change through legislations”.

The third debate, lead by Deputy Speaker Simon Haskel, questioned “can sustainability work alongside globalism and growth?” Oskar made an interesting impromptu comment to the debate when it was opened to the floor.

At the end of each debate every person in the chamber had to vote for one of the three solutions proposed by each speaker. Unfortunately, not all of our students had the opportunity to speak, although they volunteered. However, we are all very proud of the ones who did!

The debate was recorded and filmed by the House of Lords and will be aired on the BBC’s Parliament Channel after the general election and posted on the House of Lords Youtube channel. Luckily, every student will have access to the official transcript of the debate, exactly as it is stored in the Hansard.

 The formal day finished at around 2.30pm, which meant we could walk to China Town and experience a different culture in the centre of London. The students very much enjoyed this and we had plenty of time to relax and eat after taking the infamous London underground during the five o’clock rush hour! At around 7pm we took the train from Paddington to arrive back in Taunton for 9pm.

Watch the full debate here:

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