Schools Competition 2020 (11-14 y/o)

The History of Parliament will run its history competition for 11-14 year olds throughout the summer term to support teachers and students during the unusual teaching and learning environment as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. The winner will receive a prize of book vouchers worth £75.

The competition is open to all students in the UK aged 11-14 years old.

Entries should be between 500-1000 words and must be submitted by school staff (not a student, parent or guardian) on or before 31 July 2020.

The task has two options (see below) based on the Political Reform materials on our website’s schools section and teaching materials, and our YouTube channel. These materials are specially-adapted from our research and the resources on the website include schemes of works for teachers (students should choose on option only).

Task: Parliamentary Reform

The Political Reform materials on the History of Parliament website and the 19th century reform playlist on YouTube explore how Britain changed from a country where political power was held by a few privileged people to one much more democratic – at least if you were a man! They include information on several of the important reform acts, such as the 1832 Reform Act (see Lesson 2: 1832 Reform Act) and the 1867 Reform Act and the 1872 Ballot Act (see Lesson 4: 1867 Reform Act & 1872 Ballot Act)

Option 1: Entrants should choose one of these reform acts, and write a parliamentary speech either for or against it.

Option 2: Entrants should choose one of these reform acts, and write a newspaper article for a pro-reform or anti-reform newspaper.


Information can be found throughout our Reform schools materials, but these articles should be particularly useful for the 1832 Reform Act:

1830-32 Parliaments

Lord John Russell

Sir Richard Vyvyan



And the 1867 Reform Act and the 1872 Ballot Act

1865-68 Parliament

John Stuart Mill

John Bright



There are also specific teaching resources and lesson plans, including lessons focussing specifically on these reform acts, available for teachers here.

The videos in the 19th century reform playlist are available here.

Competition rules

For individual entries, the winner of the competition will receive a prize of a book token for £75.

The competition is open to any student at a UK school or college who will not have passed his or her 15th birthday by 31 July 2020.

Entries should be sent to our Public Engagement Assistant, Connie Jeffery at

Please send one email per individual entry

Entries must be received by 31 July 2020.

Judging will be by a panel appointed by the History of Parliament. Their decision will be final, and no correspondence can be entered into.

For each competition there will be one winner, although the judges may make special commendations if they think fit.

We regret that entries cannot be individually acknowledged, and will not be returned after the competition.

Some entries may be used on those whose entries are used in this way will be contacted.

All entries must be accompanied by the following information:

    1. The candidate’s name
    2. The candidate’s school and its address, with a telephone or email contact for the school
    3. The candidate’s age at 31 July 2020.
    4. A declaration, signed by the teacher, saying that the work, including any photographs submitted, is all the candidate’s own.