The Year 8 Scholars have recently visited Westminster, not only for a visit to Westminster Abbey and the Supreme Court, but also an exploration of the areas surrounding Parliament with a particular focus on the many statues found there.

Starting in Parliament Square the students looked at a range of statues from Winston Churchill to Nelson Mandela with various Prime Ministers and other significant figures such as Millicent Garrett Fawcett in-between. They were asked to think about the design of the statues and the possible messages conveyed as well as the collection of statues as a whole; were there any surprising inclusions or exclusions? All these questions attempted to explore the idea of commemoration, and this was picked up later in Victoria Tower Gardens where the students looked at the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst and the memorial put up by Charles Buxton ( albeit partially covered by hoardings) commemorating the Act of 1834 which ended enslavement.

The group then visited Westminster Abbey, where amongst the many fascinating memorials, particular time was spent studying the tombs of Queens Mary 1 and Elizabeth 1, figures they have studied in history lessons this year. Having been personally divided in their lives and representing the bitter struggles of the Reformation, it was arguably appropriate to see them reunited in death as the plaque in front of their tomb pointed out. The Abbey allowed of course, a continuation of the exploration begun in Parliament square of what we choose to commemorate and how.

To end the Westminster walk, we visited the Supreme Court just across from Parliament Square. The group were able to sit in one of the court rooms, not in session at that time, and Mrs Massey spoke about the origins and significance of the Court. There was then a visit to the interactive Museum which illustrated the Court’s work before returning to the coach. Our next regular Scholars meeting will follow up on the Court’s role.