On Tuesday 7th February 2012, the political landscape of the UK was taken by storm, as over 80 budding political parties were launched at the Draper’s Academy in Essex. ‘A Day in Politics’, supported by Enabling Enterprise and Edventuring, transformed the school into a hotly contested hustings, where students learned about the nature and scope of democracy by actively participating in the political process. Students from years 7 to 11 worked together to address important social issues and to create a new vision for the country. Having transformed their ideas into slogans and manifestos, each party sought to persuade fellow classmates to vote for them in the final election. The winning party would be whisked away for a day at a top London business, so the competition stakes were high!

The Edventuring team began the day with an energetic opening assembly which promised a full immersion into the dynamic world of politics and created suspense for the challenges ahead. In the early stages of the day, the students learned the tools of political success, by engaging in fun activities which combined the key ingredients of teamwork, creativity, communication, persuasion, and public relations.

The first challenge – to build the Houses of Parliament using only newspaper, scissors and sellotape – was tackled with great enthusiasm and ingenuity. Through a combination of teamwork and creativity, the students created some very impressive structures, which were great improvements on the original! The second challenge introduced the students to the rules of the debating, where they engaged in a lively discussion about the pros and cons of social media. Since everyone had an opinion to give and a question to ask, the atmosphere was engaging and electric, with some fantastic public speakers stepping up to mesmerise their audiences.

After a quick energy boost, the students were eager to get stuck into the next challenge after break, which would provide vital training for the next generation of political leaders. Through a series of interactive games, the students gained a direct insight into the benefits of democratic representation and the processes of governance. By identifying the people of society who would most benefit from state support, the students had an opportunity to discuss issues which mattered to them and to see how politics impacted upon everyday life. Having gained all the political know-how, the students were introduced to the final challenge – to create their own political party with a full manifesto and campaign strategy – with only 2 hours to go before the election!

There was a flurry of activity, as students developed the content and the presentation of their political vision, working together to produce insightful policies and colourful rosettes. The party promises addressed all sectors of society: from supporting local farmers to tackling pollution; from supporting the elderly to providing life skills training for young people; from boosting job opportunities to abolishing tuition fees. In addition, the parties developed impressive marketing strategies, designing and selling party merchandise to persuade hesitant voters to their side.

The competition mounted as the hustings began, with each party giving a lively presentation to convince the public that they had ideas and skills to lead the country. Speeches were given, banners were flown, votes were cast, and – after a suspenseful pause – a classroom winner was announced, and the post-election celebrations began! The final task of deciding upon an overall Draper’s winner then fell to the Edventuring team. With so many excellent parties on offer, the choice was not an easy one, but one party did stand out for its enthusiasm, teamwork and political insight. A warm congratulations to ‘The Youth Party’ of 8NHS , whose stunning array of campaign materials and core manifesto of inclusion, community values and respect for others, left a lasting impression on the judges.

Thank you to all the teachers who helped make the day possible and to all the inspirational students who stood up to make their voices heard! The Edventuring team left Draper’s Academy convinced that the future of the UK will be in good hands.

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One Response to ““A Day in Politics” at Drapers’ Academy”

  • About | Enabling Enterprise February 21, 2012

    [...] you are reluctant to let it go. Perhaps the same is also true for education. After attending a ‘Day in Politics’ at Draper’s Academy in Essex, I started to appreciate the importance of using your voice. At [...]

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