This pilot study has been developed out of an observation by one of the project Co-Is, Scott Wortley of Edinburgh University, that the television game show, Taskmaster, is a useful and engaging way of teaching about law and legal interpretation. From his initial observation has come the idea to develop legal education outreach work with primary schools using activities based around Taskmaster.
There is not enough legal education happening in schools, and particularly in Widening Participation (WP) schools. School Tasking will involve five WP primary schools in a pilot study based upon the television show Taskmaster, with the aim of engaging the children in learning about the law by doing legal ‘tasks’ and using specially designed resources looking at different aspects of the law. Legal education in schools can be dry and/or complex for primary-aged children, so this project seeks to utilise the format of a show popular with young people to make learning about law at this age more stimulating and relatable. This will hopefully encourage pupils in WP schools to consider law as a possibility for their future studies/careers.
The format of the project will involve Year 5 classes in five WP primary schools in the Midlands participating in a series of law-related classroom tasks in the style of Taskmaster. The tasks will be set fortnightly over two months and classes will be awarded points by our Taskmaster (likely to be either a judge or barrister, or Year 5 pupils from Sidlesham Primary in West Sussex - their Deputy Head is a consultant for the project and runs a Taskmaster week every year at the school), with the winning class team ultimately crowned 'School Tasking Champions' at the final to be held on campus at Warwick.
LLB students will be recruited to design and develop legal resources that will accompany the tasks to be carried out in the schools. The students can design these resources as they see fit, with the only requirement that they support the children in the area of law related to the task. For example, one task we are planning is a role play scenario. Here, the students would design resources that support the children in learning about the court system and the role of each player in a courtroom. We intend to work with the students, rather than to direct them, in the design of the project resources.
If the format is successful in the pilot project, we will be looking to roll it out to more schools and beyond Warwick. For example, we are working with our University of Edinburgh Co-Is to develop the project in Scotland. The format of the outreach work is also such that it can be used across disciplines, and we would be happy to support any department interested in adapting the format to suit their academic discipline.