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Access to Parliament (Young People)

Volume 447: debated on Monday 12 June 2006

27. To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission, what steps the Commission plans to take to improve access to Parliament for young people. (76119)

A planned expansion of the Educational Visits Programme is under way, with the aim of increasing the annual number of students involved from 8,000 to 25,000 over the next two years. The Parliamentary Education Unit (PEU) now has the use of a room in 1 Parliament Street for educational visits as well as the MacMillan Room, and consideration is being given to how the House might make more effective provision for school students with special educational needs. Plans are also in place to improve the provision of specific educational content for young people who visit the House through routes other than the educational programme, including the summer opening and tours organised by individual Members. The development of new content for the educational website www.explore-parliament.uk continues.

In the longer term, plans for a Parliamentary Visitor and Information Centre, currently being considered by the Administration Committee in conjunction with the House of Lords Information Committee, would aim to provide purpose-built facilities for educational visits as part of a major improvement to Parliament’s engagement with the public.