Lesson video

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Hello, I'm Mrs.Haynes, and today I'm going to teach you some citizenship.

Right, let's just have a look together at that introduction slide again.

So, I've been looking at the sort of overarching question that asks, what is the nature of the British constitution? And today is the fourth lesson in that series.

And I'll be considering the question that you can see there.

Does the bicameral system need to change? Okay, so that's what we're going to be doing.

So if you want to just pause and make a note of that, would be a good idea.

Also at this point, I'm just going to say, that it would be a good idea to make sure that you're somewhere nice and quiet, not too many distractions.


So you've probably already gotten yourself something to write with and something to write on.

But I just wanted to mention that during this lesson, you might find it useful to have a ruler with you.

So if you need to go and grab one, just pause the lesson for a minute and go get one and then come back to me.

Okay, if you've already got one, let's just move on.

Okay, so today's lesson is going to look at four different things.

Okay, four different sections to our lesson.

That's what we can see there it's just an overview of what we're going to be doing.

Right, so first of all, we've got an explanation of what is meant by bicameral.

Then secondly, a brief identification of some historical developments that have established the UK's bicameral system.

And thirdly, an explanation of the individual roles of the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

And then finally, a consideration of the positive and negative features of the UK bicameral system to include an exam style question.

Okay, so there we are.

Right let's take that first bit.

An explanation of what is meant by bicameral.

The cameral bit is the particularly strange bit.

So I'm going to start with that.

What does cameral mean? Well, you might not be that surprised to learn that actually the word cameral originates from the Latin word camera, which means room or chamber.

I've highlighted both cameral and chamber in a kind of pink colour there for you.

Because I just thought that sometimes its handy to remember things if they start with the same letter.

So cameral and chamber both have letter C at the front of it might help you remember it.

And when I think about chamber I always think right okay a chamber like a room, a bed chamber or something that helps me remember that it means a room.


The word is mainly used to refer to legal or parliamentary chambers, and on the right hand side there you can see a picture of the German parliamentary chamber the Bundestag.


So if you just want to pause there for a moment to make a note of what is meant by the word cameral, that might be really helpful for you in the future.

Okay I'll move on.

So the other bit of the word Bicameral is that first bit.

And I think you already probably know what these words mean.

So if you think about it, uni, bi, and tri what's the meaning.

So I've got some pictures there for you.

And you've probably already worked out Haven't you by looking at that? So unicycle, one wheel.

Bicycle, yes, two wheels.

Tricycle, yes okay you get the picture three wheels right.

So, uni, bi, tri, one, two, three.


So if you want to just quickly make a note for yourself regarding that to, then do.

But if you think, "Yeah I already knew that." Then you don't need to do.

Okay? So bicameral is a word that combines the word for two and the word for chambers, okay together.

In the UK Parliament, these are the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

So those are our two chambers.


You with me? Yes.

Okay good.

Right, little task to check that you really understood that.

So I'd like you to match the words to the correct definitions below.

They're all mixed up at the moment.

And you'll know, at least three of them and it's quite a good idea to use that kind of system of elimination when you're trying to figure something out.

Particularly the multiple choice which some GCSE citizenship courses do have.

So if you can note three and then you're not sure what the last one is, then it's just the only one that's left isn't it? So have a quick look at that.

See if you can sort out which is which.

Here we go.

Here's the answers.

Well done.

So yes bicameral two unicameral one, tricameral three, and the only one that you probably didn't know, was extracameral.

I've never heard of it either.

Okay, so it's not a word.

That's a very common usage at all.

But I just thought we'd have it there to kind of make you practise that.

So that was outside of the chamber, apparently.

There we go.

We've all been educated today.

Right, So now we're going to have a look at a brief identification of some historical developments that have established the UK's bicameral system.

So how have we got, what we've got? So firstly, just a quick recap.

I'm sure you've heard everyone keep talking to you about the Magna Carta.

So I'm just going to reference that here for us.

In 1215, the Magna Carta had established in Clause 61.

That a committee on 25% barons , could meet and overrule the will of the king.

Okay, so we've talked quite a bit about what the Magna Carta brought into our own sort of system of doing things.

And that's just one to kind of remember 'Cause it's relevant for today's lesson.

Okay Now this is when your ruler is going to come in handy.

I'd like you to draw me a timeline.

Okay, so we've got the dates there, down the side on the left.

Okay, I've got six Yes, six dates there for you on the left.

1265, 1341, 1689, 1911, 1999 and 2009.


And then you need to allow yourself, I would say if you're writing on lined paper, you probably need at least three lines per date.

If you're doing it on plain paper, I guess perhaps three centimetres of space for each date to write some information in.

Okay, so just pause the video there and make a nice neat copy diagram of that timeline.

Right, we're going to take it into chunks, we're going to start with the first three dates.

So as you can see, there's some information now next to my dates.

some of it is in bold type.

Okay, so you've got a choice here, you can either write all of the details down onto your timeline, or you could perhaps just use the bits that are in bold, I'll leave that up to you.

Okay, right.

Let's look at the first one.

So 1265.

Major towns were invited to send a representative to the Parliament of England, a unicameral body for the first time.

So we start off, not with a bicameral system, but with a unicameral system, one single chamber.

And we get some people being allowed to go to it for the first time being invited from different, different towns.

Okay, next one down 1341 Under Edward III the parliament was split into two chambers.

The upper chamber included the nobility and clergy.

The lower chamber included the knights and official through each borough which is another word for a small area.

1689 The English Bill of Rights established Parliament's authority over the monarch.

Okay So pause the screen if you need to.

I'm going to move on.

So, the bicameral system was established, with authority over the crown so far.

The system was further developed as today, the House of Lords has less power than the House of Commons.

Okay, so we need to see how that was established.

And that's what the next three dates will do for us on our timeline.

So 1911.

The House of Lords rejected the liberal government's budget, which is their financial plans.

And two years later in 1911, the 1911 Parliament act removed the Lord's ability to veto a bill from becoming law.

They could only delay it for up to two years.

And then this was reduced to only one year in 1949.

And that's where we are now they're going to delay for up to one year, the House of Lords still may be two.

1999 only 92 peers.

So that's those who are born with a title such as Lord, they were called hereditary peers may sit in the House of Lords.

So in 1999, we're limiting the amount of people who just by their birthright gives them the right to go and sit in the House of Lords.


You see how the sort of power is changing there, can't you? 2009 the House of Lords judicial, so there legal responsibilities are transferred to the newly established Supreme Court.

So over time there you've got an erosion of power from the House of Lords.

Okay, right.

So let's just have a little look at the individual roles of the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

This might just actually be quite a good bit of revision for you if you think you've already covered this somewhere else in your course.

So I will warn you that after these two slides on the House of Lords, I'm going to ask you a couple of questions.

So perhaps make a note as you go along that might be helpful.

So first of all, we've got the role of the House of Lords.

The House of Lords is independent from the House of Commons, but it shares the task of making and shaping laws.

House of Lords select committees of around 12 members can make recommendations to government on various issues such as gambling and COVID-19.

They do not receive a salary, but can claim a daily allowance and expenses.

And on the right hand side there, I've got a picture of a statue of King Richard I, that is outside the Palace of Westminster and there's actually it's right in the middle of the carpark of a House of Lords.

Am going to move on, pause if you need to.

Otherwise I'm going to go to the membership of the House of Lords.

Membership is on elected and currently there are over 800 members.

The majority of them are life peers around 700 and these have been appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister.

They represent a wide range of professions including medicine, the armed forces, law, education, science, sports, business and the arts.

They also ensure religious diversity.

Many have retired from their previous professions.

There are also 26 high level Church of England members and 92 hereditary peers that we mentioned earlier.

Okay, you might like to know that actually you the members of the House of Commons are suggested by political parties but also by the public.



So we're going to have some questions now on the House of Lords.

So pause to answer the following questions for me, please try and use full sentences.

On the left hand side there we've got what is the role of the House of Lords and are they salaried? How are life peers created and what are their backgrounds? which two other types of members make up the House of Lords? Okay, so just pause there for a minute and then come back to me if you think you have an answer.

Okay, here's some answers.

So on the left hand side here I've got, the role of the House of Lords is to help shape new laws, members of the House of Lords are not salaried.

In the middle life peers are appointed by the monarch on advice from the Prime Minister.

They have varying backgrounds such as law, education and sport.

On the right, other members of the House of Lords are either senior members of Church of England or hereditary peers.

How did you get on with that? All right.

If there's anything there that you missed, again, just pause and add in something from the answers that I've given there.

Okay, well done.

Let's move on again.

So now we're going to have a look at the House of Commons.

So this is the one you're probably more familiar with, again, good revision.

The role of the House of Commons.

The role of the House of Commons is to approve new laws and taxes.

You knew that, dint you? It is also expected to hold the government to account for its actions.

The Commons should debate current issues and be held responsible for its actions by the public.

MPs have a salary of around 82,000 a year.


The membership.

It is an elected chamber.

There are 650 constituencies that elect one member of the House of Commons to take a seat.

The political party with the most seats is invited by the monarch to form a government.

The leader of the political party of that political party, sorry, becomes the Prime Minister.

Okay, I'm sure you knew all of that last bit there.

If you want to know a little bit more about the way in which laws were carried through the two houses, then Mr. Henson has done a very good lesson on that in the section on laws in our citizenship selection.

Okay, there's a picture there of Boston.

So we're moving on.

A consideration of the positives and negative features of the UK bicameral system, which will include an exam style question.

So on the next slide, I'm going to ask you to pause, okay, and do a task for me on the next slide.

All right, here it comes.


So I would like you to identify, and then make a note of which of these points are positives or negatives of the UK bicameral system.


so on my grid there, some positives and some are negatives.

And I will warn you now that I think there's, I think there's three that are neither of those, okay, they're what I would call a red herring.

They don't apply to either of those.

So you won't be putting those on either side.

Okay, when you're writing these out, so what I'm going to suggest is that you have two lists, positives and negatives.


So I'm just going to read these through for you as well.

If you don't need me to read them through, you can just pause now and do that on your own.

We might want to just stay with me in here.

We've been through, right so from the top on the left.

More people scrutinise suggested new laws to avoid errors.

The middle.

Only one chambers is currently elected by citizens of the UK so it is not fully representative.

On the right hand side.

It only has one single chamber so it does not include enough different viewpoints.

Second row down on the left.

The Lords can claim a daily attendance rate of up to 313 pounds.

In the middle.

As the Lord's is mainly an appointed chamber, it is possible to recruit expertise from various professions.

On the right.

The Lords do not get a salary so it is not expensive.

Third row down on the left.

It reflects our history.

In the middle.

An unelected chamber has 150 more members than the elected one.

On the right.

The Lords can slow down a new law being made.

The bottom on the left.

The Lords is more culturally diverse.

In the middle.

It's three chambers are expensive.

On the right.

Its cruel to have two camerals in Parliament.

There you go.

Positives and negatives of the bicameral system.

Okay, so pause now and have a go put those into your two lists.


My red herrings, you got those, didn't you? Top one on the right there doesn't have one single chamber does it? We know it's got two.

At the bottom there.

It got three chambers.

So that's wrong.

And there are no camerals.

There's no mention of camerals.

I just thought it sounded like bicameral.

Two camerals? No.


Fair enough, we'll move on.

So these are our positives, all the ones that highlighted there, so top left, on the second row, two on the right.

And then again, Third row down, it reflects our history and then on the bottom, the Lord is more culturally diverse.

So I recommend that you pause your video and have a look and see if you had a one of those listed as positives.

If you didn't have one of those, then just draw an arrow round to the positive side from it, you don't need to cross the arrow again.

Just run an arrow around to the positives.

So that you know it should have been on the other side.

Okay, on the other list.

Okay, right I'm going to have a look at the negatives.

We have these other negatives.

So that's not fully representatives, only one chambers elected, each but can still actually claim 313 pounds a day, which does add up.

There's more in the unelected chamber.

The Lord's can slow down the process.

Okay, so there's four there, that I thought could be classed as negatives of the bicameral system.

If you've got any have your own that you've thought of, by all means add that onto your list, cause this isn't an exhaustive list, there are other things that you can say about this.

So well done if you've thought of something that I haven't got on my list.

Okay, Right.

So this is the exam style question I mentioned earlier.

Am going to ask you to pause the video a minute, As I'm going to read through the task.

In 2011, a draught bill on House of Lords Reform suggested that the House should only have 300 members with 80% of them being elected.

In 2012 the suggestion was dropped.

Explain why some people are in favour of reforming the House of Lords and why others support keeping the bicameral system exactly as it is today.

This should take 10 minutes and result in two substantial paragraphs.

So you've already have gotten your list of the positives, and the negatives.

So now what I'm asking you to do is to put those lists into a paragraph to use each one of those points as a sentence.

We have some people wanted to state as it is, and other people would like it to be changed.


Have a go at that now, if you'd like to stay with me, I'm just going to show you an example of a paragraph.

Okay, so what I've got here is I've got a paragraph, that is going to explain why some people wish to keep the bicameral system exactly as it is today.

Okay, and you can see there again that I've put in bold the key points that I was using from today's lesson.

Going to read it through for you as well.

Some people would like to keep the bicameral system exactly as it is today for several reasons.

Firstly, they value the history that establish the current system of government.

Would not want to lose that connection with the past.

Additionally, people consider the extra level of scrutiny, that the second chamber has over any new laws as an essential element of our process to ensure that every angle has been considered before law is introduced.

On top of this, many people feel that the House of Lords with it's life peers brings a different dynamic to our system, as it often includes people who are experts in the field of things like science, education, law, and the arts.

Those fields may not be represented in the.

By the MP's in the House of Commons, so their viewpoint would be lost if the Lords was also an elected chamber.

Okay, cause when you vote for people, you can't guarantee you're going to get selection of these different things, can you? Finally, some minority voices are also heard in the House of Lords, which again may not be guaranteed in the membership of the House of Commons.

So that was just my paragraph, yours doesn't have to be exactly the same as that, but you can see the way in which I've kind of structured it there by using ideas that we've had earlier on in the lesson.

Okay, and you need another paragraph that explained the other side of that argument.

All right.

So, in today's lesson, we have done all of that.

We have explained what has meant bicameral.

We've looked at the developments that got us to this bicameral system.

We've then considered the roles of the two different houses.

We've looked at the positives and negatives for bicameral system, and we've had got an exam style question.

That's a lot.

So you've done really well today, really well.

But before you go, do please have a go at the exit quiz.

See if you can remember some of the points that we've been doing today's lesson.

I hope you enjoyed it.

See you all again soon.