First News Education -

A post-SATs political project to spark interest in the General Election

Brought to you by A Tale Unfolds

Whatever your opinion on Theresa May’s snap general election announcement this month, one thing that June 8th vote will undoubtedly provide is the opportunity to initiate political discussion within the classroom.

Why is this important?

According to the Electoral Commission, the past five general elections have recorded the lowest voter turnout rates since 1945, with young people regularly identified as one of the least engaged categories.

More promisingly, within 72 hours of last week’s snap election announcement, over 100,000 under 25s had registered to vote. Building on this momentum by inspiring the voters of the future is vital.

Not only does classroom discussion support a greater working knowledge of the democratic system; crucially, it enables pupils to develop the critical thinking skills required in order to question and scrutinise policies, parties and media bias.

This is where Pupil Prime Minister comes in.  The 10-lesson literacy and filmmaking project inspires political engagement amongst 7-11 year olds through a series of fun and thought-provoking activities. Pupils investigate how parliament works (constituencies, MPs, law-making and voting) before forming their own political parties: creating manifestos, drafting speeches and even filming their own public broadcasts!

The project includes fully downloadable lesson plans, IWB slides and video resources, providing KS2 pupils with that much-needed (and topical) focus in the post-SATS lull.

Ex-Defence Minister Peter Kilfoyle, who features in the Pupil Prime Minister videos, worked alongside social enterprise A Tale Unfolds to help create the resource. You can read more about why he believes it’s vital to engage primary school pupils in this recent First News blog post.

Year 4 Teacher Colin Grimes recognised the impact that the project could have in helping his pupils to look at national issues from a range of viewpoints: “Having these debates in class has helped the children to see that we cannot judge the whole nation by our tiny part of it. The excellent materials gave pupils a genuine context and purpose for their writing. By showing them that the work in their books can have an effect on the world outside their classroom, they have been really inspired.”

Completed Pupil Prime Minister projects can also be submitted by teachers to the upcoming LitFilmFest, a brand new event inviting pupils to watch their finished political speeches at the IMAX, Waterloo (the largest screen in Britain!) on June 19th 2017.

With pupils and teachers across the country discovering the impact of filmmaking in their literacy lessons, why not inspire your budding filmmakers today by visiting and checking out this short film. The prestigious IMAX event, which takes place on Monday June 19th, invites winning schools to shoot their films professionally and see their efforts brought to life on the biggest screen in the country! The deadline for entries is Wednesday 17th May 2017.