Museums + Heritage Awards Winner – Education Initiative

The National Centre for Citizenship and the Law (NCCL inspires young people to make social change, helping young people to live within the law and develop into fulfilled adults. NCCL’s work includes early intervention and preventative education models to prevent young people engaging in criminal activity and diversionary activities and rehabilitation opportunities for young people and adults at risk, young offenders and prisoners.

I Pledge is a targeted crime prevention educational project for young people across the priority areas of Nottinghamshire. I Pledge uses the historical setting of the Galleries of Justice Museum to teach 9 to 11 year olds about the law, how to live within it and their role within society as a responsible citizen. The early intervention programme is delivered prior to criminal age of responsibility and transition to Secondary education, to prevent first time entrants.

I Pledge uses the real buildings at the Galleries of Justice Museum and associated objects with a Georgian Gaol, Edwardian Police Station (in use until 1986) and Victorian and modern Youth Courtrooms as a back-drop for young people to actively explore about the law and how to live within it. Pupils drive their own learning experience through ‘learning by doing’, they experience first-hand what would happen if a crime was committed and how it would feel for the victim, perpetrator and associated people.

The historical setting of the Galleries of Justice Museum are used to teach children
The historical setting of the Galleries of Justice Museum are used to teach children

Funded by Nottinghamshire County Council, NCCL delivered I Pledge to 10 schools (600 Year 4, 5 and 6 pupils) from Nottinghamshire Primary Schools from January 2012 until July 2012. Each group of pupils participated in two full days of activities at the Galleries of Justice Museum delivered by a team of NCCL facilitators. The schools were provided with pre and post visit activities for teachers to use in the classroom to embed the learning from the programme as part of their delivery of the National Curriculum. I Pledge was been designed to help children achieve their full potential by supporting their learning in schools through creative and experiential activities. The programme is linked to both the History and Citizenship curriculum and addresses issues including anti social behaviour, youth crime, safer communities as well as raising aspiration and attainment. The programme is delivered at the historic and cultural site of the Galleries of Justice Museum with additional preparation work being carried out in schools. During the first visit pupils act out a number of crime stories investigating the consequences of different choices and actions. The crime stories were developed using the stories and characters from Nottinghamshire County Council’s ‘Keep on Track’ resources. Using the Galleries of Justice Museum, participants experience first-hand what happens at each stage of the contemporary criminal justice system. Through games and discussion participants investigate the roles of people in court and learn the basics of a trial. Between visits one and two, classes write their own mock trial based on one of the crime stories role-played during the first visit. During the summer term the school returned for their second visit to perform a mock arrest and trial in the youth court at the Galleries of Justice Museum. Pupils also consider the impact of crime on its victims during this second visit.

Youngsters learn about the consequences of crime
Youngsters learn about the consequences of crime

Between visits one and two participants are also encouraged to take part in the I Pledge Competition. Pupils are invited to consider a crime issue in their area that they want help tackling. King Edward Primary School won the competition in 2012 with an initiative to help to tackle increasing instances of cyberbullying in their school community. Throughout the project schools are encouraged by NCCL to create and sustain links with their local police, fire and community support officers to strengthen the project’s community focus. Schools are encouraged to extend the links, learning and outcomes beyond the project’s life therefore creating a legacy for the project.

  • The intended learning outcomes for I Pledge are:
  • To improve children’s understanding of the consequences of their actions as citizens
  • To improve knowledge and understanding of the legal and criminal justice systems
  • To engage children in active citizenship in their community through Citizenship models of learning and activity
  • To help improve children’s educational achievement and skill levels by enhancing their learning in the classroom

I Pledge is one of the early intervention programmes developed and delivered by NCCL. Committed to teach young people about the law, how to live within it and the career opportunities available to them within the Justice System, NCCL delivers education programmes in Nottingham at the Galleries of Justice Museum and in London at the Royal Courts of Justice. There is no other organisation within the country that offers this hands-on early intervention learning programme in such unique, unforgettable environments.