History KS3: Parliament

This video is part of a series of short animations to help students understand some first order concepts commonly encountered in Key Stage 3 history.

After defining the term ‘parliament’, the video explains how the parliament of the United Kingdom is made up and how it relates to government. It then describes some key turning points in history when the power of parliament increased: Henry VIII’s break from the Roman Catholic church, the English Civil War and the passing of a Bill of Rights outlining people’s constitutional and civil rights and giving parliament power over the monarchy. It ends by saying that it is only in the 20th century that parliament has been democratically elected by universal suffrage, placing power with the people.

Illustrative examples are chosen from popular schemes of learning so that learners can confidently apply their knowledge and appreciate the dynamic nature of the concept being explained. This video could be used to support learners investigating:

  • The development of Church, state and society in Medieval Britain 1066-1509
  • The struggle between Church and crown
  • Magna Carta and the emergence of Parliament
  • The development of Church, state and society in Britain 1509-1745
  • The causes and events of the civil wars throughout Britain
  • The Interregnum (including Cromwell in Ireland)
  • The Restoration, ‘Glorious Revolution’ and power of Parliament
  • Ideas, political power, industry and empire: Britain, 1745-1901
  • Party politics, extension of the franchise and social reform
  • Challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day
  • Women’s suffrage

Teacher Notes

The video can be used for whole class direct instruction or with smaller groups and individuals.

Since the video is designed to help clarify understanding of the emergence of parliament and its growing power, the clip can be used as a flexible tool to help learners make connections and think about changes and causation leading to similarity and difference across time periods.

The video can be revisited throughout the key stage, depending upon learners’ differing needs and starting points, to help reinforce the umbrella term, consolidate knowledge and understanding and aid progression

Points for discussion
Accompanying videos on Government and Suffrage might be helpful to students wishing to widen their studies, know more or take a more ambitious approach.

Suggested activities
Individually or in groups, students could predict the video content in advance, drawing up a key word list and, whilst watching, cross check what they thought they would hear with what they learned. This could help correct any preconceptions, assumptions or misconceptions.

The video could be preparatory work, with students encouraged to watch and generate questions before a sequence of learning

Students could actively watch the film whilst answering a series of questions generated by the teacher tailored to the period under study.

Students could secure their chronological understanding of the topic by drawing a timeline, tracking the emergence of parliament, noting key turning points in parliament’s development and progression to power.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is relevant for teaching History at KS3 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 3rd Level in Scotland.

More from this series: