Teaching about politics and citizenship can be complicated and an overwhelming prospect for trainee teachers. UK Parliament’s free learning resources and unique teacher training opportunities are designed to help with this teaching journey. They offer teachers creative ways to grow their own knowledge of UK Parliament and prepare students to understand and engage with the work that happens there.
1. Improve your subject knowledge through eCPD
UK Parliament offers free online eCPD modules that teachers can work through at their own pace at a time that suits them. After completion, you’ll receive a certificate of participation, signed by the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Lord Speaker of the House of Lords.
Modules are delivered by an experienced member of UK Parliament’s Teacher Training team and will give you a detailed understanding of why the different functions at Parliament exist and the roles of the people who work there. Each module takes approximately an hour to complete and uses video, articles and activities to deepen your understanding of the individual topics.
You’ll come away with a digital resource pack and ideas for embedding what you have learnt into your teaching practice. There are currently six modules available, from ‘Understanding UK Parliament and Government’ to more focussed topics like ‘How Select Committees Work’.
2. Join a bespoke teacher trainee workshop for hands-on training
UK Parliament’s Teacher Training team works with Primary, Secondary and Further Education training providers to deliver private Teacher Training workshops for your group. Training providers can choose from a variety of training options, such as an onsite workshop and tour of the Palace of Westminster, tailored online sessions, or workshops delivered directly at your training centre.
These workshops equip trainee teachers with the tools needed to inspire active citizenship in young leaners and are integrated with PGCE, BEd, ITT, Scottish PGDE and equivalent qualifications.
“The trainers were knowledgeable, enthusiastic and passionate about their subject. The session offered opportunities for interaction and it is great to know resources (both printed and digital) are available to support future teaching. I left today’s session feeling inspired.” – University of Roehampton
The workshops explore:
- How UK Parliament works and ways students can engage with its work
- Curriculum links to UK Parliament
- Free resources and training opportunities offered by the UK Parliament Education and Engagement Team.
More information about the teacher training workshops can be found on UK Parliament’s website.
3. Get to know the history of the UK Parliament buildings
Venture deep into the heart of the Palace of Westminster without having to travel. Taking a free, 45-minute online guided tour is a great way of discovering the different areas of UK Parliament you will be teaching your student’s about, and the significant events that have happened – and still happen – within its walls.
During the live online guided tour, an experienced member of UK Parliament’s staff will guide you through the chambers of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, where you’ll have seen parliamentary debates unfold. You’ll also see the magnificent ceiling of Central Lobby, and medieval Westminster Hall with its connections to historical moments including the Lying-in-State of monarchs and Prime Ministers.
There’s also time for questions, so make sure you have a notepad handy for the optional Q&A session at the end. Currently, talks are running on Tuesdays and Wednesdays through to January 2023.
4. Visit UK Parliament in person for an unforgettable experience
A visit to UK Parliament is a truly unique experience and there are a variety of ways you can do it.
The 90-minute expert-led guided tour is a great way to explore the buildings and discover the fascinating history and heritage of the Palace of Westminster. On the tour you will find out about the work of UK Parliament and hear a few interesting stories from the knowledgeable guides who know these buildings inside out. You will also hear more about the key events that shaped our democracy. The guided tour option is very popular so it’s best to book a guided tour in advance.
If you prefer to explore at your own pace, you can take a self-guided multimedia tour. You’ll be provided with a multimedia device which will guide you through the buildings and reveal hidden details you may otherwise overlook. You can stop and marvel at the history, art and architecture and make your way through famous rooms like the chambers of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, Westminster Hall, and much more.
5. Join the UK Parliament Teacher Network for free events, teaching resources and more…
UK Parliament works closely with the teaching community to develop free curricula-linked resources, and plan new teacher training events. Sign up to be a member of the UK Parliament Teacher Network if you are keen to take advantage of these opportunities throughout your teaching career. The network also offers teachers a space to share teaching ideas with network members across the UK.
A quick tip: If you sign up to the UK Parliament Teacher Network, keep an eye out for updates in the January 2023 newsletter related to Teachers’ Institute. This hugely popular immersive three-day training experience at UK Parliament is fully funded (all travel, accommodation and most meal costs are covered) and open to all teachers across the UK who want to grow their confidence in teaching about democracy and active citizenship.
“The course was excellent – a fantastic introduction to Parliament with practical advice to make it real and meaningful for my students and my school. The programme personalised the work of Parliament and demonstrated how to make democracy accessible to young people across the UK.” Teacher Ambassador, 2018
Teachers’ Institute is a unique opportunity to hear directly from Members and colleagues working in key roles across UK Parliament, and network with teachers from across the UK. Since its launch in 2006, the programme has trained more than 1,200 teachers from all parts of the UK, giving them skills and knowledge of UK Parliament to share with their students and colleagues.