Stewards Academy pupils wentoff to court!
Last month, prior to the academy’s partial closure, 15 Year 9 students from Stewards Academy attended Stratford Magistrates Court to take part in the Young Citizens Magistrates Mock Court Competition. The competition involves students from over 270 schools and is designed to help improve young people’s life skills, their understanding of the justice and legal system and how the law touches every aspect of their lives.
Leading up to the competition pupils worked on a case of suspected criminal damage by a climate change protestor. Their preparation involved learning about the court system and various roles within it including how to be a magistrate, lawyer, witness, legal advisor, and court usher. Pupils were split into two teams, a prosecution and defence with two pupils involved in separate competitions as court reporters and artists.
Pupils were visited by a magistrate, Steven Taylor JP, who was able to give lots of information and answer their many questions. Following the visit, pupils worked to develop the opening and closing speeches as well as the examination and cross examination of witnesses. A focus was for pupils to work on the burden of proof required within the British Justice System.
As well as taking part in the competition itself, pupils were able to see first-hand many of the punishments available to the justice system including tags, handcuffs and then a tour of the cells at Stratford Magistrates Court. The highlight for many was being able to experience what it is like to be transported from court to prison, they were all surprised at the cramped and noisy transportation options! The pupils involved found the experience challenging but very rewarding with many interested in pursuing careers within law in the future.
Holly Sherwood, Assistant Headteacher said: “It is fantastic to see pupils stepping outside of their comfort zone and taking on completely different roles. All the pupils involved worked well together as a team and learnt a tremendous amount about the workings of our legal system. They demonstrated huge potential as future lawyers and magistrates. We were very worthy runners up having won the round as defence with the lawyers receiving praise from the head judge for their killer questioning! Congratulations to all involved.”