Parliament is in session
Over the last 14 years, John Paul II Catholic School has been running a Parliament, enabling all students in Grades 4, 5 and 6 to contribute to decision making in the School.
In place of a Student Council, students form the House of Representatives and School Staff form the Senate, with the Principal, Mr Jim Ireland, holding the position of Governor General. The students are allocated into two groups: Government and the Opposition, holding elections each year for the various positions with students preparing and delivering speeches before the voting begins. The Electorates consist of the classes at John Paul II. The Ministries are also decided upon at the start of each year. This year they included: Culture/Community, Environment, Literacy, Sport and Recreation, Literacy, Publicity, ICT and Religious Education.
The School holds an ‘Opening of Parliament’ where each student delivers a speech and tells the Parliament what they hope to achieve. Time is set aside each fortnight for Parliament, either meeting in Committee groups or participating in a Parliament Sitting.
Throughout the year, all students in Grades 4, 5 and 6 improve in their self-confidence and public speaking skills. In addition to writing formal speeches, they are able to organise and publicise an event or activity for their Ministry or Electorate. These events have included: class games, Health and Sport Day, Wheels Day, Talent Quest, Multicultural Day, and School Discos.
Towards the end of each year John Paul II holds a ‘Closing of Parliament.’ This year, students and staff were extremely fortunate to be able to hold this in the Reception Room at State Parliament House. The Speaker of the House, the Hon. Elise Archer, led the session alongside John Paul II’s Speaker, Maggie. The students delivered their final speeches detailing what they had achieved for the year.
This term, Grades 5 and 6 students also travelled to Canberra for their bi-annual school trip. They were able to visit Old and New Parliament House and the Electoral Office, and gained a greater insight into where the decision making of our country takes place. They took part in Bill debates, voting and were able to see the House of Representatives at both Houses.
Parliamentary session Maggie with Hon Elise Archer Enjoying the sites in Canberra