School visits to the States Chamber

The scheme runs throughout the school year, allowing Year 5 children from all the Island’s schools to visit the States Chamber.

It aims to encourage local children to take more of an interest in how decisions are made in Jersey and links with the citizenship curriculum to promote participation in elections, especially since the lowering of the voting age to 16. 

What happens during the visit?

The visits take place on a Monday with groups having two hours in the Chamber. Students learn about the history of democracy in Jersey and how the current system has developed. 

After this, pupils get to sit in the seats usually occupied by States Members and use the voting system during a debate on a topic of their choice. 3 of the children take the roles of the Greffier, the Dean and the Usher who ensure that the debate is as close as possible to a real States Meeting.

Preparing for the visit 

Before their visit, all students receive a booklet which gives an overview of the work of the States and includes a range of activities that can be completed at home or in school.

Schools also have access to a fully resourced, cross-curricular Scheme of Learning linked to the booklet to ensure that the learning in the Chamber is also embedded in the classroom. As well fulfilling requirements of the citizenship curriculum, this Scheme of Learning also allows schools to deliver important elements of the English curriculum, including spoken language and writing skills, as well as History.

Visits during 2022 

In 2022 a total of 1059 Year 5 children visited the Chamber. Each child was presented with a copy of their proposition, an Order Paper, an information sheet about the States member whose seat they had taken and a certificate to commemorate their involvement in the visit. Students were also given information about how they could get inolved in improving their community and how they can make a difference. Many visits also had a States Member present to watch the debates and answer questions. Students used these opportunities to find out more about what being a States Member is like and what was being discussed in the Chamber.

Debate topics during 2022 included: 

  • having a 4-day working and school week
  • banning homework
  • stopping the sale of fireworks
  • whether every class in Jersey should have a class pet
Children commented that seeing the Royal Mace and pressing the voting buttons were the highlights of their visit to the Chamber.

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