Created and run by Dr Ali Struthers of Warwick Law School, School Tasking is a primary school outreach project that enables Widening Participation (WP) schools in the West Midlands (and from 2023 onwards, across the UK) to participate in a series of law-related classroom tasks in the style of the hit TV show, Taskmaster.
There is not enough legal education happening in schools, and particularly in WP schools. School Tasking engages children of primary school-age 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 utilises the format of a show popular with young people to make learning about law at this age more stimulating and relatable. The ultimate aim is to encourage pupils in WP schools to consider university (and possibly even the study of Law) as an option for their future.
This project enables Year 5 pupils to learn about interesting aspects of the Law through fun and interactive tasks set in the style of Taskmaster. The project is now in its second year, having run successfully with over 250 pupils in the West Midlands in 2021-22. The pupils took part in fortnightly law-related tasks in the style of Taskmaster (with these tasks accompanied by engaging and informative resources on the law, developed by LLB students at Warwick Law School) over a period of two months. The output of the tasks was then ‘judged’ by a group of fellow Year 5 Taskmasters at a primary school in West Sussex, and the winning group from each school attended the School Tasking Final on campus at the University of Warwick in July 2022.
The first two years of School Tasking have been hugely successful. We have received feedback from teachers that the format of the project enables all children to play to their strengths, and that it has encouraged significant improvement to their team working skills. One teacher emphasised how a group of SEN children in the class undertook one of the videoed tasks with a confidence that she had not witnessed before, and she was keen to share the video with the parents of these children. The project is rolling out to 26 partner universities across the UK from 2023 onwards, enabling School Tasking to run as a national competition.
“The work that Ali has been doing with Taskmaster and children has been remarkable. It was never meant to be watched by kids, let alone played, but now there's no stopping them! I've hosted task sessions in schools myself and it's both fun and exhausting. So I'm pleased and relieved that Ali and her co-conspirators are taking on the challenge with so much energy and enthusiasm. Thanks to them, with a bit of luck and a lot of work, our nonsense show might just inspire some young people to have fun, work as a team, and be very, very silly.”
Alex Horne (Creator and Star of Taskmaster)