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Lawyers wanted to stem rise of crime in schools

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Engaging students in society is key, says project manager of Citizenship Foundation’s Lawyers in Schools programme

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The Citizenship Foundation’s acclaimed Lawyers in Schools project is looking to expand to battle rising crime figures in schools.

The BBC revealed last week that school crime reports topped 30,000 in 2014, up from 28,444 crime reports in 2013. Alarmingly, the alleged offences were often quite serious, with theft, burglary or robbery the most common, with 13,003 incidents reported. Meanwhile, there were 9,319 reports of violent crime, 4,106 reports of criminal damage or arson and 754 reported drugs offences.

The problem is obviously a complex one with many causes, but Lawyers in Schools project manager Dorothy Spencer reckons that it is partly due to some students’ disengagement with society.

And she thinks that solicitors and barristers can help out by coming into tough schools to deliver classes that explain basic legal concepts that allow students to get a sense of how the world works and where they stand within it.

Spencer comments:

No one thing will fix the increasing problem of crime in schools. But educating students on the law, society and citizenship is an important step towards helping them to re-engage.

Spencer adds that students who attend the six session programmes run by Lawyers in Schools in partnership with 40 law firms and businesses frequently get a confidence boost from spending time with top solicitors and barristers that translates into better performance in other classes. She explains:

Skills like advocacy and understanding of the rule of law can be of huge benefit to the wider community.

You can find out more about Lawyers in Schools here, or by contacting Dorothy Spencer on 02075667757 or Dorothy.Spencer@citizenshipfoundation.org.uk.

Alternatively you could come along to this breakfast event which The Citizenship Foundation is holding on 5 November. It will see Lawyers in Schools partners BBC Worldwide, Centrica, JP Morgan and Olswang discuss the benefits and challenges of their involvement in the project. Find out more and sign up here.

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