For AS or A-level students, differences in voting patterns between rural and urban constituencies can initiate discussions on themes such as urban deprivation or rural issues. The 1997 Changes map is particularly interesting and cn stimulate significant debate on the issues that can lead to a large swing in the popular vote.
www.election.co.uk provides more detail, right down to the level of an individual county. The site is attractive and easy tonavigate, although at 27 minutes to download some information, it would be impossible to use the site itself within a lesson. It's also necessary to download a VRML viewer to interrogate the 3D maps that are of limited use.
The individual constituency profiles bring the data down to the level at which you can analyse reasons behind voting patterns. A matching exercise between maps and analysis could provide an interesting way of exploring Britain's regional differences.
At key stage 3 these and later maps can be used to collect, record and present evidence on the changes which have taken place in the political map of Britain. The maps could effectively be used on overhead transparencies to allow pupils to present to the class.
Naomi Peirce is deputy head of the Sele School, Hertford