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UK Parliament partners with FutureLearn to open the doors on the UK political establishment

London, UK, 15 September 2016: FutureLearn, the social learning platform, today announces its latest partner, the Houses of Parliament, whose first course “Introduction to the UK Parliament: People, processes and public participation” has just opened for enrolment.

The Westminster model of parliamentary democracy has been adopted by many countries across the world, and the UK Parliament has been described as the Mother of Parliaments. Parliament publicly holds the Government to account, scrutinising their decisions to ensure they are transparent, efficient and fair.

The course is designed to increase public engagement and the nation’s understanding of the work and role of the Parliament.  The course will cover the following areas:  

  • the difference between Parliament and Government
  • the role, and the changing nature of Parliamentary debates, including new digital debates
  • the steps and processes involved in making and changing legislation
  • the role of committees
  • how citizens can engage with Parliament

The course will begin on November 14th to coincide with UK Parliament Week, a programme of events and activities that connects people across the UK with Parliament and democracy.

Learners joining the course will have the opportunity to learn by watching videos, listening to audio and reading articles. At every step of the course, there is also the opportunity to post comments and engage with fellow students. In completing the course, learners will have gained an understanding of how Parliament works, including the different parts of Parliament, its role in scrutinising the work of the Government and how Parliament is evolving and developing new ways to engage with the public in the digital age.

Penny Young, Head of Participation at UK Parliament, commented, “A thriving Parliamentary democracy depends upon a strong relationship between Parliament and the public.  This new course, which is open to anyone, will help people understand Parliament better and in particular, how citizens can engage with and influence Parliament.  FutureLearn has more than four million users and the partnership will give Parliament a great platform to reach out to a new audience – it’s a very exciting move for us.”

Simon Nelson, Chief Executive of FutureLearn, said, “We’re delighted to welcome the Houses of Parliament as one of our newest partners. This new course will enable our current and future learners to gain a very real insight into how Parliament works. We are particularly excited to see our approach to social learning in action on this course as it will open up a dialogue between Parliament and UK citizens, in a way not done before, which has the potential to be very insightful.”

As with all FutureLearn courses, learners can sign up and attend the course online for free while a Certificates of Achievement and Statements of Participation will be available at the cost of £24 and £49 respectively.


Notes to editors

About FutureLearn

“Pioneering the best social learning experiences for everyone anywhere”

Founded by The Open University in 2012, FutureLearn is a social learning platform, designed to support learning through conversation. It offers over 4 million learners free online courses from world-leading UK and international universities, centres of research excellence and specialist education providers like the British Council, Creative Skillset and European Space Agency. In May this year, and as a global first, FutureLearn announced that learners could now earn degree course credit through MOOCs with the introduction of a set of Programs.  

About Parliament

“Introduction to the UK Parliament: People, processes and public participation” is supported by Parliament’s Learning Projects and Content team. No revenue share from the course will be passed on to the Houses of Parliament.

For more information, please contact:

Niamh O’Grady, Communications, FutureLearn

Email:, Phone: 020 3031 8941 or 07920 023536

For more information on UK Parliament:

Phone: 0207 219 0969

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