The Junior Lawyers’ Club (JLC) is returning to Bath in 2020 for a series of Saturday workshops, teaching debate and public speaking skills to 8-12 year olds.
The JLC provides activities to develop creative and critical thinking, alongside soft skills such as leadership and teamwork. Designed by a team of educational specialists, it has been running in Wimbledon since 2015 and in Bath since 2017. From January, the JLC will also take place on school inset days, as well as introducing workshops for older children.
“I really enjoy all of the fun activities that we do, which help us build our persuasive skills and put our points across concisely,” said Toby, aged 11, who has been attending the Bath Saturday workshops for over a year.
As well as being fun, the workshops encourage a passion for learning and an interest in current events. Participants attended a ‘Careers Fair 2030’, where they developed networking and interview skills, debated skills needed for jobs of the future, formed Question Time panels for youth election campaigns, and designed and presented ideas for an ‘Inventions and Innovations’ workshop.
Olive Hosker won a JLC award for best invention and innovation, with her presentation of a ‘Guardian Blanket’. Her idea was to create a blanket made of thin, foil-like material, with added technology to increase warmth, to be used for people sleeping outdoors, or hiking or mountain climbing, with the option to have a tracker and a heart rate monitor, and small enough to fold down into a rucksack. She suggested it could be a standard item to hand out at shelters, for anyone sleeping rough, with funding coming from corporate sponsors, who advertise on the blanket, satisfying requirements of corporate social responsibility.
Another student to benefit from the workshops is Tomas, 12, who was one of the first students to gain a JLC level two certificate. “I really like creating ideas to answer challenging questions on the spot in front of others,” he said. “The activities and exercises are really good for developing my listening, speaking and conversation skills.”
Susanne Tayfoor, Barrister and JLC Principal, explained, “We introduced our new certification scheme in September this year, the exercises and the scheme being devised with the JLC Board of Professional Advisors, involving research with lawyers, school headteachers and Higher Education consultants. There are ten levels to achieve, with an option to take Bronze, Silver and Gold exams. Students work towards becoming a JLC student-mentor, with feedback and work experience provided for sixth-form candidates.”
Dr Stockwell, Principal of Pearson College, has been a consultant on the JLC Board of Professional Advisors for several years now. Last term, she completed her Doctorate at Bath University, jointly receiving the Richard and Shirley Mawditt prize for outstanding performance on the DBA. Her first-hand research is a valuable resource for JLC workshops, covering graduate training schemes days and skills sought after by employers.
“We’re looking forward to introducing the workshops to schools on inset days,” added Susanne, who will be leading the workshops, along with a former headteacher.