Just over one in 10 students had a lesson on the law by the time they did their A-levels, according to a charity behind what is believed to be the biggest public legal education event of its kind.
Young Citizens, an education charity to support young people to become active citizens, is today inviting teachers in England and Wales to get involved in ‘The Big Legal Lesson’, a campaign to start a conversation about the law in schools.
A poll conducted by Young Citizens found that only 13% of students received a lesson on the law by the time they reached their A-levels. Two-thirds of the UK know their basic legal rights, according to a separate survey.
The campaign, which is being sponsored by law firm Mishcon de Reya and supported by the Law Society, will give teachers the resources they need to confidently introduce the law in classrooms. Resources include age-appropriate lesson plans exploring what the law is, who has the power to change the law, and how these changes affect lives.
Ashley Hodges, CEO of Young Citizens, said: ‘Every young person should understand their rights, responsibilities and the rule of law, whether or not they go into legal careers. With the support of Mishcon de Reya and the Law Society, we hope The Big Legal Lesson 2023 will light the spark of legal education for thousands of learners across England and Wales.’
Mishcon de Reya partner Samantha Kakati said the campaign’s role in giving young people access to the knowledge and tools to understand and engage meaningfully with legal, political and social systems is critical.
‘The Big Legal Lesson provide supports teachers in making a direct and powerful impact on legal literacy, which equips students to develop their skills and realise their potential wider contributions to society,’ Kakati added.
Society president Lubna Shuja said: ‘Engaging young learners in the fundamentals of the rule of law is a vital step in ensuring access to justice for all. Whether or not they go on to practice law, The Big Legal Lesson is a fantastic opportunity for young people to understand how our justice system works and why it matters to them. The Law Society is delighted to support such an exciting initiative, the effects of which we hope will resonate throughout the lives of all participants.’
The Big Legal Lesson runs from 13-24 March.