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Citizenship Education and the Rule of Law

The Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law runs an innovative public legal education project. We enable secondary school pupils to understand fundamental aspects of the legal system whilst encouraging them to reflect critically on how well it dispenses justice. The project provides schools with free resources including comprehensive lesson plans and background information for teachers, ensuring that the lessons are accessible for any level of Citizenship expertise. This year we will also provide topical updates on rule of law issues, our Bingham Briefings, so teachers taking part in our programme can discuss the most topical issues with their students. These case studies are supplied by practising solicitors and barristers.

The project is in line with the national curriculum and is a means by which schools can broach 'British values' with their students. We strive for a world where no child leaves school without an understanding of their rights. Through democracy, justice, and human rights-based lessons, we enrich students' ability to analyse the world around them. They gain an appreciation for the world outside of their own immediate experience by considering issues such as immigration, criminal justice, cultural and religious diversity, fair trial rights, equality before the law, the abuse of power, and human rights.

What do schools receive?

There are two resource packs. Each comprises four to eight lessons. They are primarily designed for teaching in KS3/4 Citizenship or PSHE, but they have been used by a number of teachers in different situations. One teacher used the resources in his A Level Law class to introduce students to legal concepts. The resources might also be used in a Human Geography context to aid students in contrasting their experiences with those living in different locations. Furthermore, the lessons can be delivered in a range of formats and over a time period of the schools' choice.

The resources include:

  • Full sets of materials for students accompanied by an introduction to the material for the teacher and explanatory teaching notes
  • An outline of learning objectives and expected outcomes
  • Worksheets and suggestions for discussion and delivery
  • Activities to develop specific transferable curriculum key-skills such as communication, advocacy, critical thinking and team-work
  • Targeted discussion exercises and news relevant case studies
  • Cross-ability tasks suitable for class or homework
  • A DVD containing presentations, videos, audio clips and slideshows

See the Samples page for examples of the student resources.

How is it relevant?

Since November 2014, schools are required to promote 'fundamental British values', (as part of students' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development) one of which is the 'rule of law'. Against this backdrop, the project provides a timely and valuable vehicle for understanding law, democracy, rights and responsibilities in the UK and abroad. The resources are also directly relevant for addressing the law and justice content of the Citizenship curriculum at Key Stages 3 and 4, and can be used an introduction to the law and justice content of the Citizenship Studies GCSE.

Where do I sign up?

Following the success of the pilot project in Autumn 2014, the Centre is now offering the materials without charge to schools across England. If you are interested in using our resources, please visit the Sign Up page.

The Bingham Centre is grateful to The Legal Education Foundation for funding the pilot phase of the Citizenship Education and the Rule of Law project.