Departmental politics

11th May 2001 at 01:00
The general election can seem a bore to anyone under the age of 18, but it doesn't have to be. An election is the perfect opportunity for your class to get their teeth into the citizenship basics: rules, communities and conflict - and making judgments about who should control and run their environment.

The game

Use this game to spark off conversation about the world of politics, about rights and responsibility. More importantly, get them understanding who holds the power over everyone in their community.Play this game as a lively, simple introduction to understanding government and the way it works.

Arms of government

The Government is actually made up of 26 departments. This game looks at four of them: the Department for Education and Employment, the Home Office, the Foreign Office and the Treasury.


Divide your class into groups and give each one a photocopy of the board, icon cards and score sheet. You can draw a line through the answers underneath. Each group could have a question master, or you may prefer to have the whole class playing at once - in which case you can ask the questions.

* Take each question in turn and discuss as a group.

* Choose the appropriate icon card and place in the matching space on the board.

* If the answer is correct ick your score card.

* Get more discussion points with information on ukelection.


1 Everybody who works has to pay taxes to the Government to help pay for services like hospitals and schools, the police and firemen. Who looks after all the Government's money?

2 The Government is trying to find out more about why some people commit crime. Which department is doing this research?

3 Many asylum-seekers want to come and live in this country, but not all of them are allowed to stay. Which department decides who can stay?

4 Which department decides what schools in England should teach children?

5 Who's responsible for making sure that animals in circuses and in laboratories are treated humanely?

6 Adults not only pay tax on what they earn, they also have to pay "value added tax" on many goods and services. Children's shoes and books are tax-free, but this could change. Who decides what we should pay tax on?

7 When there was an earthquake in India recently, Britain gave money to the Indian government to help it pay for new buildings and roads. Who decided how much to give?

8 When drug-importers are caught, the Government is allowed to take their money to help drug addicts kick their habit. Which department confiscates the money?

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