Key Stage 4 Government & Democracy

Years 10 and 11 Making Law

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Lesson Plan

Teaching ObjectivesPossible Teaching ActivityLearning Outcomes

Pupils should have a basic understanding of:

  • who makes law and the difference between parliament and government
  • how a general election works and when a by-election becomes necessary
  • how a bill becomes an Act of Parliament
  • how they can get involved the decision making process and have their say

Begin the lesson by talking to students about the law and examine who is involved with making the law. Look at the difference between parliament and government. How much do your students know about the political parties that exist in this Country?

Talk to the students about elections. Look at how constituencies are divided and consider what happens at a general election. Ask the students if they know the difference between a general election and a by-election.

Consider how a bill becomes an Act of Parliament. Look at the ways it can be introduced into the House for discussion and the stages that it passes through before it can become law.

Ask the students how important they think it is to have their say on different issues that affect their lives. Discuss the ways in which students can get actively involved in the decisions that take place around them.

  • Students will be able to recognise who is responsible for making the law and how these people are democratically elected to their positions.
  • Students will also understand how a Bill becomes an Act of Parliament and how they can get involved and get their opinions heard.


Teachers Notes

Making Law

Who is responsible for making the law?

All societies have to make policy choices, confront problems, resolve conflicts, handle disagreements, decide who gets what and how. Someone has to make decisions in order that any country can function properly and this is why politics and politicians are important.

Part of this decision making process also involves making law to ensure that all of the citizens living in a country can feel safe and protected.

The governance of a modern society is a huge task and at the heart of the British political process is the Government of the day (headed by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet).


The Parliament of the UK actually consists of :

They all work together to carry out the work of Parliament and an introduction to Parliament is available on the UK Parliament website (


The Government can be described as the manager of the country as it is its job to make many of the important day-to-day decisions. These decisions do, however, have to be agreed by Parliament.

The Government is formed by the political party that wins the majority of seats in the House of Commons at a general election.

Information on how the Government is accountable is available on the UK Parliament website (

Party System

Political Parties are formed by groups of people who are united in agreeing a set of policies. They have similar ideas on how the nation should be governed and band together to achieve that view.

Further information about the existing party systems within the UK is available on the UK Parliament website (

The number of seats held by each party in the current Parliament can be found on the Parliament website ( and the websites for the 3 main political parties can be accessed via the links below:

Suggested Teaching Activity

Teaching Ideas

The Parliamentary website contains a teachers' section ( which is suitable for use with students aged 14-16.

Video Discussion

Parliament Uncovered ( is a new video that has been produced by the Parliamentary Education Unit and is suitable for informing a teenage audience about Parliament. The programme is suitable for 14 - 18 year olds and is accompanied by a teachers' leaflet, which offers a brief synopsis, list of issues raised and important terms covered.

On-line Guide

The 10 Downing Street website ( contains useful information about Downing Street and British politics. It also gives you a behind the scenes glimpse into a day in the life of the Prime Minister.

Further Information

The Parliamentary Education Unit produces fact sheets ( written on a range of subjects including:

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How are politicians elected?

Background Notes

Being allowed to vote is very important as it gives you the chance to have your say.

Fair and free elections are an essential part of a democracy, allowing the majority of citizens to determine how they would like the country to be run.

Elections enable the electorate to participate in choosing the government and help to make the government accountable to the people.

If you click on the following headings, you will be connected to further teaching information on the UK Parliament website:

Suggested Teaching Activity

Factsheets and Wallcharts

The Parliamentary website produces a fact sheet on Parliamentary Elections (

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How does a Bill become an Act of Parliament?

Background Notes

This country has a set of rules, some of which set standards for our personal behaviour. Rules such as these are called 'law'.

Today, the law is made by Parliament, whose elected members from time to time produce statutes or Acts of Parliament that the rest of society must then follow.

The term 'law' is used in many senses, however, in this case we are looking at the law of a state and we could therefore say that it is: a rule of human conduct, imposed upon and enforced among the members of a given state.

English law is one of the great systems of the world and one-third of all mankind is today ruled by laws that came originally from here. As England developed into the United Kingdom, Parliament's activites affect the UK as a whole.

Following the passing of the Scotland Act in 1998 the Scottish Parliament was formed - the first one in Scotland since 1707. The Scottish Parliament is responsible for matters solely affecting Scotland and Scottish members are still involved with matters affecting the UK as a whole.

Similar laws were also passed (The Government of Wales Act 1998 and the National Assembly for Wales (Transfer of Functions) Order 1999) to allow the National Assembly for Wales to take responsibility for Welsh matters. Like Scotland, Wales is still governed by UK law and Welsh MPs still sit in the House of Commons.

From a Bill to Act of Parliament

Before an idea can become law, it needs to be submitted for consideration to Parliament in a draft version called a Bill.

There are 3 different types of bill:

Before a Bill can become an Act of Parliament, it must go through several different stages of drafting and discussion:

Suggested Teaching Activity

Factsheets and Wallcharts

The Parliamentary website produces pamphlets on Making Law ( and Debates in Parliament (

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How can I have my say?

Background Information

Although you are not allowed to vote in a general election until you are 18, there are lots of different ways that you can have your say.

If there is a local issue that you are not happy with you can write to your local council or MP with your views. You could actually rally your friends into action if there is something in society that you think needs changing.

Just remember things can change and you can change them.

Suggested Teaching Activity

Interaction and Question setting

There are interactive activities on the 10 Downing Street website ( The site contains information about ways in which we can all make a difference in society and allows you to put your questions to a different Minister every month.

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