Twenty one Lower Sixth pupils from The Wallace High School recently enjoyed two busy days in London, experiencing cultural and political aspects of their AS studies.
Accompanied by teachers Julie Dumigan, Paul Beaton and Gillian McGarry, as well as local MLA Basil McCrea, their first port of call was the House of Commons. This was a particularly significant and historic occasion given that this was Tony Blair’s final day in office. The Wallace party was met by Sarah Merrill from Amicus, the trade union which is affiliated to over Labour 100 MPs. The Lisburn students were given the opportunity to debate and discuss current political issues with MPs including Maria Eagle and Terry Rooney .
These issues included academic selection, the war on terror, the implications of the decline in UK manufacturing and prison reform. This debate was made more significant given that whilst it was being held , there was in fact no cabinet as Tony Bair had resigned and Gordon Brown had yet to be offered the post of Prime Minister by the Crown. Some of the students had unprecedented access behind the scenes, mixing with the politicians such as Peter Hain, John Prescott and Dennis Skinner.
Wednesday evening saw the group enjoy the hit musical “Wicked!” which was both entertaining and thought provoking with its themes of spin, perspective and historical revisionism. The staging, costuming and music were second to none. The evening was finished off with an Italian supper.
Thursday morning was spent at The Wallace Collection where the students thoroughly enjoyed exploring the history of Sir Richard Wallace. The Head Curator Jeremy Warren’s informative and inspirational address captured the essence of the unique quality of Wallace. The Wallace Sixth Years were given access to private archives had the opportunity to explore the links between Lisburn and The Wallace Collection. Highlights of the tour included dressing up in Tudor armour and seeing famous paintings such as “The Laughing Cavalier”.
The tour of the Wallace collection was followed by a backstage tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. This was made all the more memorable by access to a technical rehearsal of “Love’s Labour’s Lost”, whilst the Education Officer brought Shakespearian experience vividly to life. The students then enjoyed a short tour of the river bank, crossing the infamous Millennium Bridge and capturing some of the cosmopolitan vibrancy of London.
Tour organiser Julie Dumigan concluded, “Our Lower Sixth pupils were superb ambassadors for their school and City. I would like to thank Basil McCrea for giving of his time so freely and for his assistance in making our day in Westminster so memorable.”
Last modified: November 19, 2008