Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Do they have the write stuff?

Houses of Parliament

ASCL is pleased to be a co-sponsor this year of the Press Gallery writing competition which encourages students to voice their views on UK government. The winners are invited to tour the Houses of Parliament and meet with leading politicians and political journalists. Previous winners have visited Downing Street and met the Prime Minister.

The Press Gallery writing competition is designed to complement citizenship lessons but it may also be of interest to teachers of English, politics or media studies.

The topics for this year's competition are as follows:

  • Years 10-11: If you had half an hour to meet the Prime Minister, name one thing you would ask the him to do to make Britain a better place, explaining why you think he should adopt your idea and how it would improve life for the people it would affect. (essay length 800-1,000 words)

  • Years 12-13: The Prime Minister's youth policy adviser has asked you to devise an effective media campaign to promote a more positive image of young people. Set out the timetable and strategy for your campaign as part of the proposals you are submitting to the Prime Minister. (essay length 1,500 to 1,700 words)

There are up to eight winners in each category. The competition formally opens the second week of September and closes on 10 November. Go to www.parliamentarypressgallery.org.uk and the dedicated competition website at www.writenow.org for more information on the competition.

The Press Gallery writing competition is sponsored by the Parliamentary Education Services, Dod's Parliamentary Communication and ASCL.

A brief history...

The Parliamentary Press Gallery was established in 1803 by the House of Commons Speaker, after the crowds clamouring to hear Prime Minister Pitt speak on the Napoleonic wars forced reporters from their usual seats in the Commons Chamber. Thus it was ruled that part of the Public Gallery in the Commons would be reserved in future for the press.

Since those early days the Parliamentary Press Gallery has grown to represent more than 300 newspaper, wire service, radio, television and internet journalists who report on the proceedings of Parliament and the politics of the day.

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