Visiting the Youth Parliament

John Bercow interviewed by BBC School Reporters

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Today, we had the amazing opportunity to work with the BBC on covering the UK Youth Parliament's 2013 debates at the House of Commons.

We have done everything from interviewing the speaker, Rt Hon. John Bercow MP, to creating a 'Today in Parliament' radio broadcast.

Arriving at the BBC office and receiving our security passes was an exciting experience. We each had special roles - from preparing and interviewing the speaker and various UKYP members at Westminster Hall, to watching the debates and taking notes. All the different jobs were incredibly important if we wanted to meet our deadline.

Some of us went straight to the House of Commons to watch the first three debates from the press gallery.

It was very interesting to see how dedicated the young members of parliament were and it was phenomenal to listen to all the different opinions.

The rest of us kept working at the BBC's Millbank offices and after eating our lunch early, we headed over to Parliament. Going through security, having photos taken for our passes and walking through metal detectors was an eye-opener. We then entered Westminster Hall, experiencing it in its full grandeur.

Rachael and Gregory interviewed Mr Speaker himself, John Bercow MP.

Rachael said: "It was very exciting conversing with the Speaker and I liked how he engaged me by making deep eye contact and expanding on his answers."

'Human energy'

Chante Joseph, who is a member of the UKYP was interviewed by Millie and Helena. They described the experience as "fascinating" and said they gained some useful advice on how to get their voices heard.

Helena and Millie watching the debates Millie and Helena had to prepare interview questions

Paul, Helena and Connor stayed in Parliament to watch the last two debates. The UK Youth Parliament members re-entered the Commons with a renewed sense of enthusiasm, passion and commitment - getting to the stage of hitting microphones in desperation to be heard.

The hum of human energy reverberated through the hallowed room. Two sword lengths separated the alternative mind sets of the young people in the House - it was really exciting to watch.

The rest of us were back in the office and editing our interviews, which gave us skills that we will remember for life.

Some of us continued to take notes on the debates happening in the afternoon. They got to work with an experienced journalist to ensure that key quotes were included in the final broadcast.

Phoebe, who watched all of the debates and made notes, said: "It was quite difficult keeping up with the speeches and deciding what to include. There were certain members who stood out and really inspired me."

Making our own Today in Parliament radio broadcast was hard-work - we had to choose clips, write scripts and record a voiceover.

The Speaker with the School Report team The Speaker with the School Report team

Connor wrote and recorded part of the programme summed up the experience in three words - "intense, amazing, interesting".

At the end of the day, the Youth Parliament voted to make "Votes at 16" its national campaign for 2014. 'A curriculum to prepare us for life' was also chosen as the UKYP's priority campaign for England.

Reflecting on her day as a political reporter Coral said: "It was a great opportunity to do something not many other people get to do. It was great to see how much effort goes into making sure Parliament runs smoothly".

And Millie says: "I understand Parliament better now because I didn't really understand it before. I found it fascinating and am going to be more interested in politics from now on."

We're really proud of what we have done - being a political reporter is very hard work and tiring but it is very rewarding.

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