Hartlepool students are victorious in Teesside-wide legal eagles challenge

The students with teaching staff (second left, standing) Sarah Forster, (second seated from left) headteacher Mark Tilling and (second right) Andrew Murray and Sarah Jacques
The students with teaching staff (second left, standing) Sarah Forster, (second seated from left) headteacher Mark Tilling and (second right) Andrew Murray and Sarah Jacques

STUDENTS proved they were the good guys after emerging champions of Teesside in a competition that gives an insight into the judiciary system.

A group of 13 Year 9 students from High Tunstall College of Science, in Hartlepool, were named winners in the prestigious Citizenship Foundation Mock Trial competition – the first town school to do so in recent years.

The pupils travelled to Teesside Magistrates’ Court, in Middlesbrough, where they took on the various roles of people involved in a trial and acted out a scenario.

Beforehand, they had to prepare and script a fictional legal case from police statements and case notes provided by the Citizenship Foundation, involving stolen goods.

Before the local heat, which saw the school compete against two teams from Stokesley School and one from All Saints in Ingleby Barwick, they had a practice run at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court, with guidance from town justice John Jenkins and Middlesbrough magistrate Mike Teate.

During the heat, the students, from the Gifted and Talented programme, took on the roles of magistrates, prosecution and defence, court officers, witnesses and defendants.

In round one, the team “prosecuted” against All Saints’ defence team and in round two, the group acted as defence against Stokesley’s prosecution.

John Leary, a lead teacher at the school, said: “We are over the moon to have won, it’s fantastic for them.
“It got the students to understand about the legal process.

“It was educational but also in a dramatic setting.”

The students were marked on a number of criteria, including understanding the case, how well acted each role was and sticking to the case.

They will now join schools from Newcastle, Sunderland, Northumberland and other areas for a regional final in a bid to secure a place in the national final, to be held at Victoria Law Courts in Birmingham on June 28.

The school’s communications faculty leader Sarah Forster said: “The team performed to an excellent standard and came first.

“A great deal of time and effort was devoted by team members in working together to develop all the roles within a court.

“There was an enthralling and highly dramatic series of rounds with parents of our students, teachers, governors and headteacher Mark Tilling all captivated by the standard of performance of our ‘Legal Eagles’.

“We intend to represent Hartlepool and Teesside very well in the regional final.”