The Form of State of Great Britain

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It is a lesson plan about the form of state of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
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Lesson plan


Number of learners (in the group):



Topic of the lesson: The Form of State of Great Britain

Topic of the lesson in Ukrainian: Політична система Великобританії

Glossary of the terms (key words of the lesson):


  • teaching:
  • educational:
  • developing:


Type of the lesson: combined lesson


The procedure of the lesson


Tentative/planned timing



Organizing. Greeting.


Warmer up activity


Homework checking/Review material of the previous lesson

1. Where is Great Britain situated?

2. What seas is Great Britain washed by?

3. What does Great Britain consist of?

4. Is Great Britain a mountainous country?


Introducing the topic of the lesson – Today we are going to speak about the British political system.


Introducing the new material

The United Kingdom is a constitutional or parliamentary monarchy. It means that it has a monarch (either a queen or a king) as its Head of State but the monarch has very little power. The Quenn (or King) reigns but she (he) doesn’t rule. Parliament and the existent government have the power. Parliament and the monarch have different roles and they only meet together on symbolic occasions such as the coronation of a new monarch or the traditional annual opening of the Parliament.

There is no written constitution in Britain. The rules for governing the country have been developed over the centuries. More than a thousand years ago, before the Norman Conquest in 1066, the Anglo-Saxon kings consulted the Great Council (an assembly of the leading men from each district) before taking major decisions. Between 1066 and 1215, the king ruled alone, but in 1215 the nobles forced King John to accept Magna Carta (the Great Charter), which took away some of the king’s powers. In 1264 the first parliament of nobles met together. Since then the British Constitution has grown up slowly as a result of countless Acts of Parliament. There have been no violent changes in the constitution since the “bloodless revolution” of 1688 when the Parliament invited William and Mary to become Britain’s first constitutional monarchs who could rule only with the support of the Parliament. The Bill of Rights in 1689 was the first step towards constitutional monarchy because it prevented the monarch from making laws or raising the army without Parliaments’ approval. Since 1689 the power of Parliament has grown steadily while the power of the monarch has weakened.

The present British monarch is Queen Elizabeth (since 1953) and the next in the line to the throne is her son, Charles, the Prince of Wales, and then his son, Prince William of Wales.

Britain is a democracy. Men and women over 18 have the right to vote, but it is not compulsory. They have the right to elect a Member of Parliament for their electoral area (constituency). Most Member of Parliaments belong to a different political party. Although there is no limit to the number of political parties, and at present there are more than 100 of them, Britain in reality has a two-party system of government, since most people vote either Labour or Conservative.

The party that wins the most seats in a general election forms the government and its leader becomes the Prime Minister, the Head of the government. At present the Prime Minister of Britain is Tony Blair, the leader of the Labour Party. He or she (the only woman Prime Minister in the history of Britain was Margaret Thatcher, the leader of the Conservative party from 1979 to 1990) usually takes policy decisions with the agreement of the Cabinet of Ministers. The power of the Cabinet, in its turn, is controlled by the Parliament, for no bill can become law until it is passed by an Act of Parliament.

All important bills are presented to the House of Commons (the lower chamber of the Parliament, all 659 members of which are elected by people), where they are explained and debated. If they receive a majority vote they go to the House of Lords (the upper chamber consisting of 92 hereditary or life-time peers, clergy, and supreme judges) and after that to the monarch to be signed. Although a bill must be supported by all three bodies, the House of Lords has only limited powers, and the monarch has not refused to sign any bill for about 200 years. The monarch always acts on the advice of the Prime Minister. So the House of Commons is the main law-making body while the Cabinet of Ministers and the government are the main executive bodies.

Scotland and Wales have their own governments: the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh and the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff. Both opened in 1999.

In Northern Ireleand the situation is more complicated. Because of the need to deal with politically inspired violence and terrorism, the Government assumed direct rule over Northern Ireland in 1972. since then, several plans have been put forward by the successive governments in an effort to establish an administration acceptable both to Protestant and Roman Catholic Communities. Due to the old-time religious enmity, only since 1968 over 3, 000 people have lost their lives as a result of the terrorists’ attempts to achieve their aims through violence.

There are 14 British overseas territories in which Britain is responsible for their defence, internal security and foreign relations. British policy is to give independence to those overseas territories that want it, and not to force in on thos which do not. The territories include British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibralt’r and some others. According to this policy Britain returned Hong Kong to Chine in 1997.

Great Britain is a member of the Commonwealth which is a voluntary association of independent states that originated as a result of dismantling of the Britisy Empire after 1945. The British monarch is the Head of Commonwealth and also the Head of State of 16 member countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the Bahamas and some others.


Practising the new material

1. What can you say about the power of the Queen in Great Britain?

2. Is there a constitution in Great Britain?

3. Who is the Queen of Great Britain?

4. Who will be the next in the throne?

5. The House of Commons is a hereditary chamber, isn’t it?

6. What kind of political parties do you know?

7. Who was the only women Prime Ministerin the history of Britain?


Evaluating the learners activity and knowledge of the lesson


Summarizing the whole material of the lesson


Homework giving


End-of-lesson activity








1. Warmer up activity


Words Beginning with a Given Letter

Level: Medium to Difficult

The teacher chooses a letter from the alphabet. Then each student must say a word that begins with that letter. If a student repeats a word that has already been said, then he/she is out of the game. The game ends when only one student remains. That student is the winner. In high level classes students lose if they say a past form of the verb. Example:see-saw. You can increase the difficulty by adding a timer. Only allow each student 5 seconds to think of a word.


2. End-of-lesson activity


Read the following statements and decided if they are true or false.

1. The British monarch is the head of the government.

2. Magna Carta was the document that limited the monarch’s power.

3. William and Mary were the first monarchs who reigned but not ruled.

4. Members of Parliament represent two main political parties.

5. The Cabinet of Ministers is resonsible and accountable to the Parliament.

6. The House of Commons is more numerous than the House of Lords.

7.British overseas territories used to be its colonies befor World War II.


1-F, 2-T, 3-T, 4-F, 5-T, 6-T, 7-T


3. Homework


Answer the following questions.


1. What do you think about the institution of monarchy? Would you like to have king or queen or tsar in Ukraine?

2. If you were elected the President of Ukraine, what would your first edicts be?