"Before half term, a group of Lower Sixth politics pupils headed to Westminster where, joined by our fellow politics pupils from the London Academy of Excellence (LAE), we made our way to the Houses of Parliament to hear from various speakers.
Our first speaker was Lord Francis Maude, former MP and Minister for the Cabinet Office. Lord Maude spoke about the role of the Cabinet and his experience in it. My personal favourite anecdote was Lord Maude being a signatory on the Maastricht treaty due to someone pulling out - the day of our visit being exactly 28 years since the signing.
We then heard from a senior civil servant with responsibility for the NHS and wider health policy, who is part of the Prime Minister’s Office, specifically focusing on health, who spoke about the differences in leadership between Theresa May and Boris Johnson.
We then visited the Commons Chamber - it was quite surreal to be in the place that is so commonly seen on the news and TV! Afterwards, we went to the Cabinet Office where we took part in the Whitehall Spending Challenge. I was lucky enough to be the Chancellor for this exercise, which entailed me and my co-Chancellor from the LAE negotiating with four various governmental departments over budget cuts that had to be made. After hard-fought negotiations and some potential errors in our strategy, we secured half of the departments' agreement to enter our government. It was a very fun, albeit quite stressful, insight into the workings of the civil service.
Finally, we were very lucky to be able to visit 10 Downing Street and get a look at the famous black door. All in all, it was a really enjoyable and informative day out. Thank you to our teachers for organising it."