In January, the whole school came off timetable for the day to take part in one of our regular Extended Learning Days (ELDs).
We organise ELDs throughout the academic year to enrich our students’ experiences and each day is given over to learning with a single theme. At this month’s ELD our students focused on crime and justice, with each year group taking on different activities.
Year 7 students had a Forensic Day taking on the role of Investigating Officers at a Crime Scene. To begin with they had to analyse witness and suspect statements. They were then taken to the scene of the crime where they had to identify what was and wasn’t evidence and make a sketch of the scene.
Students also had the opportunity to do fingerprint, footwear and fibre comparisons on all suspects as well as learning how to recover fingerprints. They also analysed and compared DNA reports linking blood from the victim to the weapon.
The Year 7s then had to analyse all of the information they had been given to work out who had committed the crime, create an evidence board and present this evidence in court at the end of the day.
Students in Year 8 looked at how the law and punishment of crime has changed over the past 100 years. They followed a young person through the Youth Justice System looking at what happens when a young person commits a crime and assessed the consequences of the offence on the victim and the offender. They also looked at the Crown Prosecution Service’s role in bringing a crime to court.
They then went on to look at a specific case and decided whether there was enough evidence to take it to court. Students were given the opportunity to be a judge, working through an interactive case looking at the aggravating and mitigating circumstances that are considered when sentencing. They were asked to decide a sentence for a particular crime and found out whether they were correct. Finally, all students took part in a role play set in a Magistrates Court to show how court proceedings would occur.
Year 9 addressed how laws were made. They began by identifying whether some of our more extreme laws were true or false and discussed why these laws were established in the first place, or where the myth had come from. They then worked through debating a new law that they had decided upon in their lesson, looked at the stages the bill went through in Parliament and saw short clips of bills being debated. They also looked at how some of our MPs behave when in the debating chamber and how the voting process in the House of Commons works.
Students also spent time with PC Sarah-Jayne Elliot who explained the arrest procedure to them, why suspects are read their rights and what these mean and what happens when you get to the police station. James Alderson who is a serving firefighter also came in to talk to the students about the dangers and consequences of arson and hoax calls. In the afternoon session, students learnt the difference between a barrister and a solicitor and then took part in a Crown Court mock trial focusing on the consequences of sharing prescribed medicine with others.
The Year 10 students took part in a careers event, where they had the opportunity to consider their strengths and areas for development and as well as the different careers and pathways on offer. Students wrote their own CVs and completed an in-depth questionnaire about themselves to identify the careers that were most suitable. Students said how useful it was because they had no idea of the thousands of different job roles and careers that exist. A student might think they are interested in construction or engineering but has no idea of the thousands of possibilities within that field.
The day was kicked off by a speaker, Stuart Myers, who spoke about his life experience. Stuart, 37, was born without arms. He talked about the journey he has experienced in both his personal life and professional career. He explained how he has defied the odds and progressed from being an office trainee to a local government manager, as well as having other roles, including a charity trustee, school governor and judicial office holder.
The students were inspired by his talk and he invited questions from the Year 10 audience, who were really challenged to think about their own strengths and how they deal with obstacles in their own lives.