Richmond School and Sixth Form College warmly welcomed Baroness Harris of Richmond as a guest speaker to herald the start of Parliament Week.  In 1999, Baroness Harris was created a Liberal Democrat Life Peer and is a Deputy Speaker in the House of Lords.

Joe Mawer, Year 13 student, introduced Baroness Harris to Year 12 Sixth Form Students, followed by a second presentation to Year 10 Students. Joe had the wonderful opportunity of a week’s work experience with Baroness Harris In July when he spent a week with her in the House of Lords.

Baroness Harris explained how the main role of the House of Lords is to look at legislation from the House of Commons which they scrutinise and suggest amendments to, a very important part of law-making in this country. She went on to talk about a typical day in the House of Lords which starts at 9:30am and doesn’t finish until 10pm.

Baroness Harris was very keen to point out that in her maiden speech in the House of Lords she said that she was from Richmond in North Yorkshire, the original Richmond of all the ‘Richmonds’ in the world. She is extremely proud that this is recorded in the Hansard, the official report of everything that is said in Parliament. Since being in the House of Lords, Baroness Harris has chaired the European Union Select sub-Committee F and has been a member of the European Union Select Committee, Offices Committee and Refreshment Sub-Committee.

The students were fascinated by Baroness Harris’ account of life in the House of Lords and at the end of each presentation they were invited to put forward questions for her to answer.  Baroness Harris said: “The students are the future and it is important they learn from our mistakes and make the world a better place and learning about parliament is crucial for them.”

Joe Mawer, Year 13 Student, said on his week’s work experience with Baroness Harris:” I spent five days working alongside Baroness Harris and had the incredible opportunity of going to the House of Lords every day. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and it was a real privilege to go.”

Clare Clish, Lead Teacher of Business Studies at Richmond School and Sixth Form is spearheading Parliament Week, a nationwide initiative, at Richmond School and Sixth Form College. Throughout the week, Clare has organised a host of activities, including a mock-referendum on lowering the voting age to 16, as well as a visit from a second high-profile guest, from the House of Commons, at the end of the week.

To find out more about UK Parliament Week, the annual festival that engages people from across the UK with Parliament visit www.ukparliamentweek.org