As part of the ‘Crime and Deviance’ module of the GCSE Sociology course Year 10 students went on a visit to Tameside Magistrates Court.
The court experience begins as soon as the students arrive, with students entering the same way as the defendants. Anyone arriving in court has to empty their pockets, bags and walk through a metal detector to prove they aren’t carrying anything harmful or dangerous like a knife or even a mirror which can be broken and made sharp. Every trip seems to have one student who struggles to get smoothly past the detector as it beeps loudly each time they are checked – this year was no different, eventually finding that it was a packet of crisps setting it off!
The students also discovered on this year’s trip that looks can be deceiving when they saw an elderly defendant be convicted of a violent crime. The whole courtroom had a giggle (including the magistrates) when a defendant accidently banged his head against the window. They also saw how anyone can be a victim of a crime when one of the magistrates had to leave because they knew the victim in court – another magistrate!
Most importantly, whilst at the court the students had the opportunity to talk to Magistrates, Ushers and Solicitors about their job roles, as well as watch the whole process of court in session.
The student’s behaviour was exemplary and they asked some very informative questions throughout.