- Burlington Danes Academy and Olswang and BBC Worldwide
- Kirkbie Kendal School and Southlakeland District Cumbria County Councils
Olswang joined the Lawyers in Schools programme in 2008. They brought lawyers from BBC Worldwide and the BBC on board in 2009 and lawyers from Amey in 2010 - to join forces with them at Burlington Danes Academy in Hammersmith and Fulham.
Last year, the Olswang partnerships saw 79 volunteers including - trainees, associates, partners, senior partners, in-house lawyers and barristers working on the programme.
Olswang and BBC Worldwide continue to work with Burlington Danes Academy and over the years they have seen Lawyers in Schools go from strength to strength. More than 225 students have benefitted from the programme at Burlington Danes since 2008.
Highlights from last year’s partnership evaluation report revealed…
Eighty per cent of Burlington Danes students felt more involved in classroom discussion than normal during the sessions.
‘The sessions allowed us access to actual lawyers experienced in the law and they helped us to understand our rights and responsibilities in certain situations.’
The Director Learning commented that…
‘The opportunity to interact with legal professionals was such a privilege and the students were really motivated to succeed at school so they could be in a better position academically in the future.’
A partner from Olswang expressed the sentiment shared by many volunteers about their own enjoyment of the sessions…
‘I can say nothing more than my sessions were often the highlights of my week. I found them inspiring and rewarding.’
As for BBC Worldwide volunteers…
One hundred per cent of them reported that their job satisfaction had increased as a result of taking part in Lawyers in Schools.
We owe thanks to the enthusiastic and hardworking Corporate Responsibility team at Olswang and the dedicated lawyers from Olswang, BBC Worldwide, the BBC and Amey for the time and effort that they put in to making fantastic impacts at Burlington Danes in 2011-12. In addition, we’d like to thank assistant principle Janina Aitken and teachers from Burlington Danes for their continued support and commitment to the programme. We look forward to celebrating the impacts made in 2012-13.
Olswang also currently work with Haverstock School in Chalk Farm where they deliver sessions with barristers from Blackstone Chambers.
To find out what students and volunteers at Burlington Danes Academy made of their first session this year - read our blog 'My first Lawyers in Schools' session...'
The Lawyers in Schools programme works with many different lawyers and organisations in a growing number of places in the country and now even internationally.
Local Government lawyers for South Lakeland District and Cumbria County Councils have been involved in the Lawyers in Schools programme for two years and work in partnership with Kirkbie Kendal School in Kendal Cumbria. Approximately 50 Year Ten students in total will have benefited from the programme at the School by the end of this academic year.
During this time Lawyer Nicola Hartley has been the volunteer co-ordinator for the two Councils. She recently explained that their lawyers were motivated to take part in the programme in order to give something back to the community that they serve; to educate young people and to generate discussion and debate about different aspects of the law and to encourage young people to consider the profession as a career option.
The programme has also helped their lawyers to develop links between the Council and community for the good of the people they serve.
When asked what the best thing about taking part had been, Nicola told us…
‘Engaging with the young people and hearing their views on the law and the legal system. The young people’s views are always fascinating and intelligent and we generate really interesting discussions each time we meet. The lawyers get just as much out of the sessions as the young people, it is one of the most rewarding experiences I have had as a lawyer…
I am immensely proud of what we have achieved in working with the talented and immensely bright and eager pupils at Kirkbie Kendal; it has been an absolute joy to work with them. The volunteer lawyers get just as much out of the scheme as the pupils and every session generates lively and fascinating debates on all aspects of the legal system. The school and Carla Barker (Head of Life Skills) in particular have been brilliant in terms of welcoming the volunteer lawyers into the school and our partnership between the school and the volunteer lawyers is a resounding success which reflects positively on the school, the legal profession and our respective Councils who all take part.’
Joanna Williams, a volunteer lawyer from Cumbria County Council, further highlighted what a pleasure it has been working with the students, explaining how they were ‘well behaved and a credit to the School’.
It’s not just the lawyers themselves that are enthusiastic about the programme at Kirkbie Kendal School; Carla Barker was ‘really excited about the opportunity to embark on this unique initiative.’
She explained that…
‘For Citizenship to be a successful subject in schools it needs willing organisations to come and speak with students to make it a ‘real’ subject that is relevant to them and this is exactly what this scheme [does]. Who better to speak to our students about the law than lawyers?’
Carla’s comments demonstrate the huge support that programmes such as Lawyers in Schools has from Schools and how important they view such activities for their young people. A massive thank you to Nicola Hartley and her team of volunteers for their dedication and support of the programme: without lawyers like them the Lawyers in Schools programme would not exist. In addition, we are also massively thankful to Carla Barker for her co-ordination within the School and her continued commitment to the programme.