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Our Alumni visit to Westminster

16 Mar 2020

On Friday 13th March, 11 alumnae from the Jack Petchey “Speak Out” Challenge! 2018-2019 were lucky enough to be given the chance to visit the Houses of Parliament.

After congregating at the entrance and introducing ourselves, we went inside where we waited in St. Stephen’s to meet Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith and our guide for the day.

We went up to the Jubilee Room and were treated to some drinks and delicious pastries and biscuits. Andy Slaughter introduced himself, as did Alanna from Speakers’ Trust and Alice from the Jack Petchey Foundation, then Josephine, Maitri and I talked to the group about the Speak Out! Challenge and what it meant to us. After some more interesting discussion – such as questions from Andy on women’s suffrage and female representation in Parliament – it was time for our tour.

Unfortunately for us, both the House of Commons and the House of Lords were sitting, however we were able to go to the Upper Galleries in the House of Lords and listen to them talk about the Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill. It was really fascinating to be inside the house and watch people discussing and debating. We could have sat there for hours! We were also able to visit the Sovereign Tower where the Queen enters and follow her route to the House of Lords; we all felt very regal!

One of the security guards also kindly gave us an extremely interesting insight into some of the symbols and imagery used throughout the decoration, as well as the history and significance of different parts of the building.

Overall, the trip was amazing and we are extremely grateful to Speakers Trust for arranging the trip and to Alanna, Becky, Alice and Ellie for accompanying us. We had such a great time and I know I will definitely be going back for another tour!

Fizza Zaidi, Henrietta Barnett School, Barnet