Monday, 6 June 2016

Whitley Students Take to London



By Ciaran Wyllie and Duncan Van Den Top – Year 7 Student Reporters

6:00 am - a strange time to be standing outside the school gates but here we were; out in the cold yet warm from excitement, as we waited for our transport to arrive.

A few minutes later the brilliant Johnsons coach pulled up, and soon we were all on and ready to start our journey.

It was an early morning but none of us wanted to have a short sleep. The excitement built up and up!

9:00am - The sight of the London Eye brought out a weird magic in all of us as we, for some strange reason, we began singing Christmas songs and anthems. It was strange what happened in London, but soon we were asked to stop our silly songs, for we might have made a sing-a-long and caused our driver to lose concentration.

We noticed on the pavements people walked by fast and very fast. No one talked. People just kept on walking towards the front. It was rush hour in London and it was Trafalgar Square!

HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT

9:20am – We were dropped outside Portcullis House, opposite the London Eye.  After a 5 minute walk, filled with excitement, we finally arrived at the Houses of Parliament Education Centre. Following the proper security check, all of us felt disheartened as our phones and bags were stored in a big storage cage. We suppose it had to be this way, as we are about to enter both Houses where the Prime Minister and the MPs work.



We then walked into Parliament. We could see armed Policemen around Westminster buildings. Within the impenetrable fortress, we enjoyed a long fact filled tour by two very nice staff members of the Education Centre.

Did you know:

After the bombing on Parliament in WW2, the workmen found tennis balls whilst doing the renovation. The tennis balls were used by King Henry VIII!

The Houses of Parliament are also called the Palace of Westminster and was a royal palace. The last monarch to live here, Henry VIII, moved out in 1512, and Parliament has met in the Palace of Westminster since around 1555.


We were divided into two groups and taken around the two Houses: House of Commons and the House of Lords. We learned some amazing facts, such as there are 650 MPs elected to the House of Commons and the chamber has only 427 seats. We were also shown a copy of the Hansard series. For your information, Parliament produces 80 million printed pages a year and they are recorded in the Hansard.

Concluding the tour, we had a workshop on Election and Voting. We were divided into four groups and were asked to come up with the names for our political parties. We came up with hilarious names…. Well a couple were at least! To name them, there was ‘Spongebob’ and also 'Jackie Chan’. As for ‘Jackie Chan’ team, a team member has first name as Jack and he was the ‘VOICE’ for his team.



At the end of the workshop, we met and talked to Spencer who worked for Mr Jim Cunningham - the Coventry MP. How cool was that? Spencer was very young and had a very clear voice. He talked to us about how he ended up working for Mr Cunningham. When being asked who he would like to swap places with for 24 hours, the answer from Spencer was …Mr David Cameron from Number 10 Downing Street.

It fast approached mid-day. We could see that some students were getting tiresome after cheesy jokes and info hence after lunch the real fun would start…

12:45pm - We got back on our coach and were headed to Madame Tussauds in a jiffy. On the way Ollie saw a shoe shop around Trafalgar Square which was the same brand as his and he shouted “Oh! I have shoes from here!”, which amused us as the prices of shoes near Trafalgar Square - they cost at least double the prices than in our Coventry shops.

MADAME TUSSAUDS

Madame Tussauds building was like the roof of the Taj Mahal and instead of going up with floors, it would go down in floors. Weird! As a BIG group, we had to wait outside and get our tickets, but soon we were inside.



As soon as we walked in, instantly the illusion of real looking waxed figures blew us away. The air conditioner was blasting (pun not intended) and we just filled up with excitement. Alex and I (both from 7KRO) even thought that the waxed model of a random punter taking photos was real.

In the dark spacious room full of visitors Duncan accidentally touched a real person in mistake for a model and took a selfie. You could imagine how shocked Duncan was when he realised what he just did! The real person did give him a laugh afterwards.

Moving on we past celebs varying from Robert Pattinson to Tom Daley. Even ironically Henry VIII! My (Ciaran) two favourite parts were when Alex and I were riding the Spirit of London taxi, it broke down! Second - the Marvel area with 4D cinema. Duncan’s  favourite bit was also the 4D cinema.
But sadly, just as any other day, it came to an end consequently we had to go back to the coach and return to reality.

If you ask anyone who went on this trip the majority will say they have massively enjoyed it. A day to remember for a long time.