Categories CharitiesEducation

Free legal education for school children

The charity Young Citizens has announced the launch of the Big Legal Lesson 2022, a national campaign and set of free classroom resources to see more young people learn about the law.

In partnership with international law firm Mishcon de Reya, the launch includes a suite of free classroom resources to help learners understand how the legal system affects every part of their lives. Schools and colleges across England and Wales will take part by pledging to deliver the Big Legal Lesson during the week commencing 14 March 2022. 

With over 55,000 young people taking part in the Big Legal Lesson in 2021, it is the largest public legal education campaign of its kind. The lessons are especially designed to support educators across disciplines, from primary to secondary age groups, to confidently introduce the law into their classrooms as an essential part of modern citizenship education. 

From Key Stage 1 to post-16, schools and colleges can access a full suite of age-appropriate resources covering the fundamentals of law. Primary students will have a chance to learn about the role law and justice plays in society, whilst older students will explore the laws surrounding social media usage. The resources will explore law in the digital world, asking what is acceptable to be posted online and how we can make social networking safe for all in an era of unrivalled free speech. 

Last year, 83% of students stated that taking part improved their understanding of the rule of law and why it is important. 

Young Citizens has a proud history of supporting Public Legal Education. Founded in 1989 as The Citizenship Foundation by former solicitor Baron Philips of Sudbury, the charity delivers the National Mock Trials Competitions every year, providing thousands of students with the chance to experience a courtroom case. They are supported by The Bar Council and the Law Society to increase legal literacy amongst our young people. 

Ashley Hodges, CEO of Young Citizens, said: 

“To build a fairer society, students and pupils need to have positive encounters with the legal system from an early age. The Big Legal Lesson is a special way to do this, equipping teachers across the UK to offer an engaging, accessible starting point on the law and justice, building young people’s understanding and confidence to engage with the subject. Every young person should understand their rights, responsibilities and the rule of law, whether or not they go on to practice it. In proud partnership with Mishcon de Reya, we hope The Big Legal Lesson 2022 will be a catalyst for youth-led interest in the justice system.” 

Samantha Kakati, Partner at Mishcon de Reya and lead for the Education strand of Mishcon de Reya’s Access to Law Impact Aim said: 

The Big Legal Lesson is a critical campaign to help ensure that all of our young people have access to the knowledge and tools to understand and engage meaningfully with our legal, political and social systems. 

“Through its free resources to support teachers, The Big Legal Lesson has a direct and powerful impact on legal literacy. It equips students to realise their personal potential and their potential wider contributions to their society. Now, more than ever, it is important that all of our young people are included and empowered by our inextricably linked systems and platforms. We are delighted to be supporting this important work.” 

Schools and colleges can register their interest and pledge to deliver The Big Legal Lesson via the Young Citizens website. The free resources will be made available at the end of February to be delivered during the week beginning 14 March.