Pupils' Surprise Tour of No 10

Not many people get the opportunity to walk through the door of 10 Downing Street. But pupils at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School did.

It started when Year 6 pupil, Azsvin Mariathasan wrote a letter to the Prime Minister to raise his concerns about the Syrian refugee crisis and invited Mr Cameron to visit the School to discuss the issue with the Junior School Council. Azsvin received a letter from the Prime Minister’s office to let him know that unfortunately Mr Cameron would not be able to attend, but that the Junior Council were invited to have their photo taken outside 10 Downing Street.

During the week previous to their visit, Junior Council members learnt more about the Syrian crisis from their local MP and discussed the ongoing situation. Their visit to Downing Street gave them an insight into where decisions regarding the crisis were being made. Pupils were very excited to have the opportunity to get close to the iconic black door. What they didn’t know was that a huge surprise awaited them! As they posed for photos and stood where some of the world’s most influential leaders once stood, they were asked if they would like to have a tour of the inside of 10 Downing Street. This was one invitation they could not pass up.

First, they were shown the Cabinet Office and sat around the Cabinet table. This glimpse into government already made the whole experience one that they wouldn’t forget, but it didn’t end there. They were then invited upstairs to view the state drawing rooms, including the Pillared Room and the White Room, where the Prime Minister met with President Obama during his state visit to the UK in 2011.

The experience made a big impression on pupils. Dr Ines Salman, Head of Junior School, explains “It was an extraordinary day. The experience of sitting in the Cabinet Office and touring Downing Street has given our pupils an amazing opportunity to get close to government and see where the most important decisions in the country are made. It has had a huge impact, and has heightened pupils' aspirations, with many now saying that they hope to work in Parliament in the future.”

03 February 2016

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