THE King of Saudi Arabia cut short a Wombwell students’ visit to 10 Downing Street – and thwarted their chances of a tete-a-tete with Mr Cameron!
But despite the brush with the Saudi ruler and his seven-strong motor entourage, the Wombwell crew of over 50 made the very most of their time in London.
Their day started early at 6am, but the excited trippers were happy to sacrifice several hours’ sleep to explore the heart of British politics.
On arrival at the Capital, they strode in to Parliament Square – still occupied by anti-war campaigners, spotted Big Ben, and witnessed the Westminster scramble as “hundreds of suited people scuttled around trying to make sense of the Libyan crisis”.
For some of the party, it was the first time they had visited London at all.
Teacher Mike Baxter said: “After a tour of both Houses of Parliament which included standing in the House of Commons and pointing out political celebrities – “there’s Michael Gove” and “Is that old man Vince Cable?” – the students got to test their political knowledge, during an interactive session run by the Parliament Education Service”.
They were delighted when Barnsley East MP Michael Dugher called by and fielded questions ranging from foreign policy to the scrapping of EMA (Educational Maintenance Allowance) – an issue, said Mr Baxter, that is close to the heart of any young student.
The afternoon was set aside for sightseeing, and included the interrupted visit to 10, Downing Street, where pupils were photographed outside the famous front door.
After that, the group split into two – with one section enjoying the sights of London on foot, while the others viewed the Capital from the sky, courtesy of the London Eye.
Mr Baxter added: “It was a fantastic day. This was the first time Wombwell High School has run the Parliament trip in many years, but due to its success no doubt the day will be repeated.”
The school introduces politics as a subject to pupils in Year 9, but Mr Baxter said there are plans to increase teaching of the subject in future.