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VCE students learn about the Court
18 February 2016
The Supreme Court’s Education Program has officially opened its doors for school business in 2016.
Sunbury College, the first school to visit the Court this year, learned about key aspects of the courts and our legal system, before observing Justice Lasry’s charge to the jury in the final stages of a criminal trial.
The hugely popular Education Program began taking bookings late last year and is already booked out for much of terms one, two and three. The program attracts school groups from all over metropolitan Melbourne, with regional schools travelling from as far as Warrnambool, Swan Hill and Bairnsdale to participate.
Upon arrival, the Court’s Education Team arranges for school groups to visit an empty courtroom where an informal discussion on a wide range of legal studies topics is had. The team also run a mock role-play, based on a Supreme Court trial, allowing students to truly engage in their surroundings.
Whenever possible, a judge will come along and speak with the students. Feedback from teachers such as “What my students get out of attending the Court Education Program could never be taught back in the classroom”, and, “The opportunity to meet with a Supreme Court judge was invaluable – my students were able to see a much more human side to our legal system and those who work within in it”, demonstrates the value of this interaction and the important role the program plays in supporting teachers in delivering the legal studies curriculum.
The program is just as popular with our judges, with the Chief Justice and Justices Whelan, Digby, Ginnane and Zammit already signed up to speak with groups this year. Even after 21 years on the Bench, retired Supreme Court judge, the Hon David Harper, regularly returns to the Court to talk to students about life as a judge and serving the community.
In response to feedback from teachers, this year the program will also provide school groups with an opportunity to hear from associates and barristers about the courts.