On Saturday the 8th of March teams from four local schools, Tonbridge Grammar School, Tunbridge Wells Grammar School, the Skinners School and the Skinners Kent Academy, locked horns in a mock trial competition held in Sevenoaks Magistrates Court. Organised and run by the Citizenship Foundation local Magistrates, Ushers, helpers, and representatives of the citizenship foundation all gave up their time to open both court rooms and allow legal teams from local schools to both prosecute and defend a typical criminal case of handling stolen goods. Each school fielded 2 teams, a prosecution and a defence team, who each had about 20 minutes to present their case before studentsand a real Magistrate in a real court room setting. The competition ran all morning and was a close run thing. It was not until just 1 pm that Tonbridge Grammar School were finally declared the winner. The TGS legal team will now go through to the regional Kent final to be held in Medway in May where they will meet another local winning team.
Mr Edward Tothill, TGS history teacher and team leader said:
“I am extremely proud of all the girls who took part, both for performing so well on the day, but also for giving up their spare time to work hard in the run up to the competition. We will obviously have to “up” our game because the Kent standard will be much higher but we are all excited about taking on the challenge and competing at County level in Medway."
Mrs Rosemary Joyce, Head of Tonbridge Grammar School, said:
“I am delighted that the TGS team did so well and wish them all the very best for the regionals. As an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, Tonbridge Grammar values the Magistrates Court Mock Trial Competition highly as it affords a unique opportunity for secondary students to go beyond the traditional curriculum and to learn in both breadth and depth about the criminal law and how it operates at a summary level. More importantly, however, it encourages students to become active learners and to develop a passion for making a difference to the society they live in, both of which are key components of our educational ethos at TGS."
Sevenoaks Councillor Anna Firth, parent Governor and strong supporter of the Citizenship Foundation, who helped the TGS team prepare said:
“The competition is a fantastic opportunity for all secondary aged children to develop their public speaking and analytical skills, whilst at the same time learning about the English legal system and the extremely important role that the Magistracy plays within it. The Citizenship Foundation is to be congratulated once again on creating an extremely well run, educational, stimulating, and close run competition. It was obvious throughout the morning how much all the children enjoyed taking part and, of course, it was very nice to see the most local team emerge the winners! "