Key Stage 4 Pathways

Sixth Form Criminology Visit to Beverley Magistrates’ Court

As part of our Criminology course students have to understand the role of the Magistrates within the criminal justice system. We were delighted to be invited back to our local Magistrates’ Court in Beverley with our current Year 13 students. We had a great experience led by the Magistrate Sandra Fawcett. We felt so welcomed and informed.

We travelled by train from Driffield to Beverley and walked to the Magistrates Court. It was a working court day with everyone getting on with their jobs and roles. Like all who enter we had to go through security. Since it was quite it was explained why there was a need for such measures. We then got to sit in the Family Court as it wasn't in use. It is always interesting to compare what students expect from a court to reality. One student raised the fact that they were surprised that there were boxes of tissues everywhere - the group were reminded that family court is very emotional for both sides involved. I feel this was the moment the reality of the courts system kicked in for our visit.

The two Magistrates present explained how they as lay people function within the Courts system. We were very lucky to then sit in on the District Judges court while in session and watch the justice system in practice. It was good to see the different roles of the Judge, Crown Prosecution Service, solicitors and the Probation service interact in real life as opposed to on paper in the classroom. In one case the defendant was there through a video link from Hull Prison which highlighted again how the different agencies work in conjunction with one another. The Judge explained the process very clearly and offered a question and answer session after each case.

We were also offered a tour of the cells and transport vehicle as they were not in use at that time. All students fully participated and made the most of interacting with all members of the courts and were a pure credit to the Social Studies department. It was commented by the Magistrates that we had “a great group of young people”. Mrs Shakesby, Criminology Teacher, said “It really was a fantastic opportunity to consolidate our learning and we look forward to our second group visiting next month”.