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Members of Parliament go to School

location_on Finland

A theme day for creating dialogue between students and decision makers

Social studies can feel unfamiliar to children and young people. With this innovation, students get the opportunity to see how members of Parliament work and talk about issues that concern their local area.

Finland 100


HundrED has selected this innovation to

Finland 100






Target group
March 2017
One of the more valuable things of having members of Parliament visit schools is the dialogue it creates between students and members of Parliament.

About the innovation

What is it all about?

People who are in the position to make decisions must have an understanding of schools that is based on what actually happens in schools – not hearsay or preconceptions. Getting members of Parliament to visit schools is an easy way to update their knowledge of schools. The idea of the innovation is to challenge every member of Parliament to spend a day in their local school.

Creating a forum for discussion between students and politicians is as important as giving members of Parliament a chance to experience school. Students get the opportunity to ask questions about issues they care about and even challenge the visiting member of Parliament to explain their position better.

The Q&A gives members of Parliament the opportunity to talk about democracy, their work and how the Parliament works; which gives students a good overview on how society and decision making works in real life. It also increases students’ understanding of how they can affect change in society, whether it’s through who they vote for or through other means such as petitioning or protesting.

This innovation can be organized on a big or small scale: at its simplest it can be a Q&A with a member of parliament with no additional activities. Schools can schedule and plan the event to best suit themselves. Several MPs could visit a school at the same time to create a panel debate which could bring additional value.

A school can organise the MP’s visit by themselves, but you can also work together with the Parliament. In Finland, ‘Members of Parliament go to School’ was organized by the Finnish Parliament as a theme week that was part of the Finland 100 centennial celebrations.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability


Students and Members of Parliament come face to face in an authentic way as students learn how parliament operates.


Students are given the opportunity to share their thoughts with politicians.


The model may be scaled into primary, secondary or upper secondary schools on any suited level of government officials.

Implementation steps

Inviting an MP
Take the MP’s schedule into consideration when deciding on a date.

It is therefore best to start by sending invitations to your local representatives either directly or through their staff. Once you find a date and time, you can start the rest of the preparations.

2-3 representatives is a good number for a panel discussion. The discussion will then have a good flow and it is easier to stay on schedule.

If an MP is unavailable or is not an option where you are, think of other people in your community who hold similar decision-making roles such as someone from the local authority. If it’s not proving possible to have a local representative come to the school, it could be interesting to invite someone whose work is affected by government decisions. It could be someone who works for an organization that carries out work in support of or against government initiatives, e.g. a charity or social enterprise, who could highlight how parliamentary decisions affect us all and who has good political knowledge.

Planning the day
Once you know the time and date and which MP will be visiting your school, you can move on to planning the day’s program. Have students participate!

Here are some things you could cover during the day’s lessons:

  • Q&A with the MP

  • Background exercise: Political parties in your country

  • Get to know the background of the visiting MP: Which party do they come from? When did they first enter office? Did they do something before that? What are some important things and values to the MP?

  • How are MPs chosen?

    • Who chooses the MPs and how?

    • How can people find information about candidates?

    • What types of elections are held in your country?

Suggest different topics to the students and observe which ones get a reaction. Let students take an active role in planning and organizing the program.

Visiting day
Here is an example of how the day could progress. You can and should adapt it to suit your school and the schedule of the MP.

You could also have a coffee or lunch break, during which teachers and the principal get a chance to exchange thoughts with the MP.


You could start the day with a presentation for everyone, a morning assembly or having the school sing a song together.


The students can give the MPs a tour of the school or a presentation about the school in the auditorium. The MPs can in turn talk about the parliament and their own work.

Our country

The day is meant to create dialogue between students and decision makers. A natural way to achieve this is to get them both thinking about the same topics and look for similarities and differences in their points of view.

The students and MPs could, for example, prepare and present their own views on how the next one hundred years will go. What hopes do you have for the future? You can also think about what are the good things about your country and your school, and what are the things you want to preserve for the future.


This is the highlight of the day! Depending on the amount of visiting representatives, the Q&A can be an interview or a panel discussion. You could choose students or teachers to act as host.

Students should prepare questions beforehand, but give them a chance to ask spontaneous questions during the Q&A.

Ending the day

After the hardball questions, you could end the day with a music performance for all and thank the MPs for visiting your school.

After the day
Continue discussing social themes with the students after the MP’s visit. This ensures the visit won’t feel unconnected to regular school days.

Examples of how you could continue the discussion:

  • Talk about the issues raised by the MPs in class. Did you understand what they meant? What did you find especially interesting? What were the things the MPs didn’t agree on?

  • Hold an election in your class: create a candidate ticket, hold speeches and debates, and vote. Discuss how you can differentiate candidates from each other.

  • Create a society themed artwork in arts and crafts.

  • Have a poll in your school, collect the results, and analyze them. This is an easy way to combine mathematics and social studies.

  • Discuss or do groupworks on how students can make a difference in your society. What affects your ability to make a difference? What is the importance of voting?

  • Compare the political systems of three different countries. How do they differ? What are the similarities? This project could combine language, geography, social studies, and history.

  • Find out how laws are made. Is it easy to find information on the topic? Is it easy to understand?

Spread of the innovation

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