Y8 investigates the judicial system at Clayesmore’s first ever Justice Day

Prep Librarian and Head of PSHE, Mrs Heather Bignold, writes about this highly informative day:

This was a completely new venture for the Prep school. Several months ago I contacted the Community Magistrates to explore the possibility of a day where various parts of our legal system would be represented. Thanks to some very hard work on our behalf by one particular magistrate, Callum Bremner, this all came together on Monday last week, and was, very possibly, the first of its kind in a Dorset school.

We began the day with a presentation from Stuart Hann who works with the Safe Schools and Communities Team. He took us through the stages of arrest, the main issues in Dorset, and the importance of making good decisions. His ‘true or false’ quiz aroused a great deal of interest, especially over the question of whether or not you are legally allowed to be in possession of a badger. Apparently not, unless you are a) taking an injured badger for help or b) you are a licensed badger carrier!

This talk was beautifully complemented by the session from Kate Greaves from the Dorset probation team. We learned about the different ways in which the team work with other members of the legal service, both before and after sentencing, to try to reduce further crimes being committed and to help rehabilitate the person concerned. Ms Greaves split our Year 8 into groups and gave them each a real case study to examine and consider the ‘punishment’ they would recommend in each case: prison, a fine, electronic tag, or maybe a course to deal with anger or alcohol issues, for example. Our groups had to present their case to the magistrate, Mr Bremner, and he told them whether or not he agreed with their recommendations. On the whole he did. Ms Greaves was then able to go through the cases and tell them what had been decided.

Our final session of the day involved Mr Bremner and two more local magistrates. They began with a quiz about the magistrates’ role, before going through the procedure when someone comes to court. The ensuing Q & A session produced some amazingly insightful and thoughtful questions.

We felt this was a really successful day and one which we would very much like to repeat next year. Some pupil feedback:

“It made me want to be a solicitor even more. Thank you.”
“I liked the quizzes and all the activities. I also learned a lot about court and offenders.”
“I liked trying to figure out the punishment for each defendant. I learnt that it isn’t as easy as it seems and takes a lot of thinking.”
“It felt like you were being treated like an adult and it was very interesting.”
“I learned quite a lot of things I never knew before and it has made me look at some things from a different perspective.”
“It was great fun and I learned a lot about justice, like how you can’t own a badger…”