A DORSET school is celebrating after receiving a prestigious award for its progressive and engaging approach to teaching politics.

Both the head of politics at Bryanston School near Blandford and the school itself have been presented with the Gold Award as a UK Parliament Teacher Ambassador by UK Parliament’s Teachers’ Institute.

Will Bridges, Bryanston's head of politics, said: "We’re delighted to have received the highest level of award as a Teacher Ambassador for the UK Parliament.

"There is no doubt that Brexit and now the Covid-19 pandemic has prompted the younger generation to think much more about democracy, voting and the importance of political debate.

"As an ambassador, we will of course continue to build on the increased interest in the subject with our own pupils and will take steps to ensure that every year group has some form of engagement with politics. However, in the next academic year and once current restrictions have eased, we will also now be visiting primary and prep schools across Dorset to engage with teaching staff and pupils of all ages and explain the work and respective roles of the House of Commons and House of Lords."

Securing the Gold Award from the Teachers’ Institute was the culmination of a year of political activities at Bryanston, including a three-day training programme at the Houses of Parliament that provided prospective teacher ambassadors with the opportunity to question the House of Commons Speaker and the Lord Speaker and to hear from parliamentarians of all parties about their work and priorities.

North Dorset MP Simon Hoare also recently visited Bryanston as part of a series of special talks to enthuse all pupils about the world of politics. The school has also organised a number of educational visits, lectures and a mock election where more than 85 per cent of the school’s pupils took part. A political conference for pupils, originally planned to be held after the Easter holiday, has been deferred to the Autumn term.

There has been a significant increase in the number of sixth formers studying politics at Bryanston, with more than 50 pupils registered on the politics course for the 2020-21 academic year.

Mr Bridges added: "Politics and the importance of democracy is something I am passionate about and, once the current restrictions are relaxed, I’m really looking forward to visiting primary and prep schools across the region to help enlighten and increase the connection of young people with the role and workings of parliament.

"I will be more than happy to visit any school that would be interested in a talk to help develop pupils’ understanding of parliament and democracy – please contact me at wjb@bryanston.co.uk."