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The Corporation

Posted: 14/04/16

Students are a law unto themselves

More than 50 students from a Mansfield school were present in court in Nottingham this week.

  • Students from Vision Studio School visited Nottingham's Galleries of Justice to learn more about law and order
  • Experiences from the court room have been taken back to the classroom for discussion and essay writing

Year 10 students from Vision Studio School visited the city’s historic Galleries of Justice and got into character to re-enact the Dr Crippen murder trial of 1910.

Students played the characters of the jury, judge, barristers, witnesses and Dr Crippen himself, who was convicted of the wilful murder of his wife last century.

They had the opportunity to wear the traditional wigs and gowns in a real-life court setting as they reached a verdict and debated the best sentencing of Dr Crippen.

The visit on Monday (11 April) enabled students to gather evidence and put together convincing arguments, testing their problem-solving and critical thinking skills and formed part of their law studies within their citizenship GCSE programme which they are studying alongside the English GCSE.

The group also got to meet local solicitor Megan Kirby of Nottingham legal practice Gateley LLP and ask her questions about law and order.

Other activities included a Crime and Punishment Tour of the visitor attraction as well as a ‘selfie trail’ in Nottingham, photographing key landmarks including Nottingham Castle and the Robin Hood statue.

Back at the school this week, students have been using their experience at the Galleries of Justice to write argumentative and persuasive essays on the case of Dr Crippen and deciding whether they believed he was guilty or not guilty.

Rob Penn, learner coach at the school, said: “The visit was a great experience for the group. They learnt a lot about how a court case is played out and discovered how a very famous and historical case was dealt with in the past – and enjoyed playing character roles in court.

“They engaged well with Megan too, and asked lots of relevant questions about law and order and already they’re putting together some great pieces of work now we’re back in the classroom and discussing the case.”

Vision Studio School is a new type of school for 14 to 19-year-olds and is the first of its kind in Nottinghamshire.

Sponsored by West Nottinghamshire College, it teaches the same core academic subjects as traditional schools but combines these with vocational qualifications in engineering and health and care, delivered through project-based learning and work placements with employers.