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Mayor’s Fund for London supports legal education project with primary schools in London


Almost 1000 primary school pupils have gained an insight into the workings of the justice system through taking part in the Mayor’s Fund for London Theatre of Law project during this academic year. This innovative legal education project is delivered by the National Centre for Citizenship and the Law (NCCL) who have an education team based at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

The project works with primary school pupils from London and aims to improve students’ understanding of the law and the contemporary justice system. The project consists of two days – one at school and one at the Royal Courts of Justice.

At the start of the project, pupils are asked to consider how much they know about what happens to someone who breaks the law and how much they know about the different people who work within the legal system. This is then reassessed at the end of the project, usually resulting in a positive increase in knowledge, awareness and aspirations to see the law and related areas as a future career possibility.

child_as_judge_smiling_to_camera_comp_0.jpgMatthew Patten, CEO Mayor’s fund for London said: “Working with young people to understand the law and their role in society at an early age is essential to ensure they play a full part in London’s future. Theatre of Law meets this need and promotes social and emotional skills that underpin effective learning and positive behaviour.”

During the Mayor’s Fund for London Theatre of Law project, pupils work on creative crime stories inspired by real cases, learn about the consequences of crime, write scripts to prepare for their mock trial at the Royal Courts of Justice and debate punishments. 

The project aims to improve participants’ knowledge and understanding of the justice system and the consequences of what happens when someone breaks the law. It helps pupils gain an insight into the workings of the justice system and the roles of legal professionals, encouraging students to raise their aspirations to see the law and related areas as a future career possibility.

Pollie Shorthouse, Executive Director, NCCL said:  “The professional environment of the Royal Courts of Justice is an ideal venue for this project and allows pupils to learn more about crime and punishment and the legal system as they explore real courtrooms. The Mayor’s Fund for London Theatre of Law project provides opportunities to enhance knowledge and understanding of the law among young Londoners and to raise aspirations. This is something we are very passionate about.”  

One primary school participant told the NCCL team that through the project they had learned: “How many people can be affected by a crime… I didn’t understand how serious crime can be”.

Theatre of Law participants are encouraged to develop a variety of important life, literacy and social skills through their involvement in the project. This includes attainment in spoken language, reading and writing, analysis, confidence, public speaking, debating and team work.

The project also includes a set of comprehensive resources for schools to use throughout and legal education experts from NCCL are on hand to support and guide pupils in all activities.

A teacher from Parkwood Primary School, London stated that the best part of the project was that: “It helped the children to understand the legal process –  and getting to see a real court was fantastic. It was also very good that the judge who spoke to us was female.” This helps reduce stereotypes. Another teacher from Roe Green Primary School, London commented: “We really enjoy it and find that it gives the children a really clear idea of law and how the court works.”

Schools interested in taking part in future Theatre of Law workshops should contact: london@nccl.org.uk  or call 0207 947 7047.

Theatre of Law is available for primary schools across London with above average free school meal eligibility. The project is funded by the Mayor’s Fund for London which means that schools only have to contribute £9 per pupil.

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