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A trip to Parliament & Google HQ

An extensive trip to the capital for The White Rose Academies Trust Student Leadership Group

On Wednesday 22nd November, our Trust Student Leadership Group were invited to London for two very interesting visits.

After travelling from Leeds to King’s Cross by train, once in London the 19 students - accompanied by staff members - travelled by tube across the Capital to the Houses of Parliament for an educational visit, organised by Rachel Reeves, MP for Leeds West.

With some of the students experiencing their first ever time on a train or the underground, this was a very exciting journey.

The students soon began to learn about moving around in the city; including standing to the right side of the escalators and stairways to allow busy Londoners to rush by; to have your ticket ready for the barriers; to stand behind the yellow line whilst waiting for the tube; to respect other passengers by talking quietly on the train etc.

On arrival into Westminster, the area was bustling due to it being Budget Day.  MPs were arriving constantly. After a thorough search of bags and bodies at the entrance to Parliament, which the students handled very well, the first visit began.

We were welcomed on arrival by a very knowledgeable tour guide who asked if we would like our tour to include the workings of Parliament or information more about the history of Parliament – the students chose history and they were fascinated by all the facts they were provided.

There was a huge array of artwork and paintings, which represented celebrations of past leaders. In addition, there was artwork which told the stories of world events such as the Spanish Armada and the Battle of Waterloo.

As it was Budget Day, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, was speaking in a session in the House of Commons and therefore the area was closed to tours.  The students were allowed through to the House of Lords where the tour guide talked about the structure of Parliament and explained a lot about the items which were contained in the room.  The children were also given examples of people who had received their Lordship in the room i.e. Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lord Sebastian Coe, Lord Alan Sugar. 

No school trip is complete without a visit to the gift shop to buy a keepsake from the experience.  The students were fascinated by all the different souvenirs available. After a leisurely walk over London Bridge, the students enjoyed lunch on the Southbank beside the London Eye, a perfect spot for a photo opportunity.

Next on the agenda, was a trip to Google HQ in St Giles, where the students enjoyed a tour of the offices and facilities. They were really impressed with the pod-style working spaces and flexible working structure… not to mention the gym, masseuse, ball pools, standing work stations and canteens with different themes of food (all free to employees).  The students were also delighted to be invited to enjoy some of the free staff goodies available in all of the offices such as chocolate, sweets and crisps!

The students enjoyed playing on the company’s new Pixel devices, as well as using other state-of-the-art phones and laptops. 

Employees gave a great insight into what it is like to work for Google including the famous staff benefits (as mentioned above) but they also told the students about the high quality of work required and the passion and drive which is expected from every staff member in order to produce innovative content and exceptional products.

The students learned about the tough process involved when applying to be part of the Google team; there are over 1 million applying online at any one time to work for the Company. They also heard about the importance of networking and how they would stand a better chance of acquiring a position with Google by doing work experience or an internship at the company.

Following an extremely informative and inspirational tour, it was time for dinner.  19 happy and hungry students enjoyed dinner at a restaurant outside Google HQ before conquering the 193 steps at Covent Garden underground station to catch the tube back to Kings Cross and then home to Leeds.

Executive Principal for White Rose Academies Trust, Mr Whitaker said: “The WRAT is focused on providing an outstanding education to our amazing student body, which includes wide-ranging opportunities to develop a set of key leadership skills.

The Trust Student Leadership Group is made up of student representatives from all our Academies.  These students have been selected for their excellent contributions to Academy and community life.

As part of their membership of this most important of groups in the Trust, these students have the opportunity to meet with successful leaders from a range of organisations and companies.

Our first such visit to the Houses of Parliament and Google’s European HQ in London provided an amazing opportunity for our students to meet with key influencers in these very different organisations.  Our students conducted themselves excellently and represented their communities impeccably.”

Mr Ellis-Hambley added: “Behaviour was impeccable and the students were great all day, especially those who had never visited the Capital before let alone made a journey on the tube, which is always an interesting experience. They were a real credit to the Trust”