Constitutional Crossroads: Decisions that shaped the Nation

Ref: C2226782

The UK Parliament is struggling to make a big decision on 'Brexit' and people, rightly or wrongly, are becoming fed up with their MPs. This course will look at some other big decisions from our parliamentary past, how they were made.and how they worked out. Is our current Parliament really very poor by comparison or does history tell us that this is just what representative democracy is like? Is there a better way? Join us to learn, explore and debate. We will look at a range of often controversial topics in Parliament, some of which are often downplayed in our historical view of ourselves - land ownership, the union (and dis-union) of UK countries, the slave trade, the rise and fall of the East India Company, the Corn Laws, the Reform Acts, the City of London and offshore finance. In whose interests does Parliament act, and has that changed over time? What might be the risks and rewards of parliamentary reform?

Additional information about this course

Half term 18/02/2020

Course aim

To provide an introduction to parliamentary democracy in the UK, using historical examples, with a view to better understanding current events.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for students who attend a specific centre only. For more information please call 0300 303 3464
  • This course is suitable for anyone interested in history, politics, economics or law. No special knowledge is required. Additional materials for further reading will be provided online. The tutor will try and provide summaries of online material for those without access.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • analyse how parliamentary democracy works in the UK.
  • examine how parliamentary democracy has developed over time.
  • evaluate why parliaments made the decisions they did and in whose interest.
  • consider and evaluate historical evidence
  • evaluate my own historical beliefs and argue my point of view

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • You will be asked to bring your own perspectives, knowledge and learning to the classroom. Our aim is to explore issues together, pooling our knowledge and checking our facts and sources.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • You will have access to course resources and links to wider learning through the WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas:
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • You will be encouraged to take an active role in democracy, at whatever level you choose. Representative democracy only works if elected politicians are truly representative of those who elect them.

Download full course information sheet

Constitutional Crossroads: Decisions that shaped the Nation


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact

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