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Education Unit

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what steps have been taken since June 2006 to expand the Education Unit's activities; and if he will make a statement. (97687)

The Parliamentary Education Unit has expanded its services to schools and young people in a number of areas since the summer. The main developments are as follows:

The unit's outreach officers are implementing their plan to establish working relationships with all LEAs by the end of 2007-08. Between January and September 2006 35 LEAs were visited. Where possible, corresponding constituency offices were also visited.

The unit has adopted a more varied and flexible programme of visits for young people and schools for the academic year 2006-07. These are designed to integrate with classroom work before and after the visit, and focus specifically on the work of Parliament. This new programme will double the number of young people who are able to participate in educational visits.

A new set of parliamentary educational films, entitled ‘You've Got the Power’, have been produced for primary and secondary schools. These films are supported by teacher and student workbooks, which are linked to the learning outcomes for the citizenship strand of the national curriculum. Packs containing the films and workbooks are available free on request to schools, with over 10,500 copies requested by teachers between July and September 2006.

New activities for students, with lesson plans for teachers, have been made available on the educational website, ‘Explore Parliament’, covering topics such as the importance of rules/laws, how legislation is passed, and the work of MPs.

The unit is working with the Hansard Society to produce a revised version of their ‘MPs in Schools’ pack and a new accompanying website in 2007, along with a series of workshops for Members and their staff to explore what more can be done to engage with young constituents.

The unit is organising a conference in November 2006 to share best practice for education staff from other parliaments and assemblies.