Skip to main content
BPP University BPP Professional Education probono@bpp.com

Streetlaw Project Receives UK Parliament Teacher Ambassador Status

Following staff attendance at the UK Parliament Ambassador Teachers’ Institute in July 2018, BPP’s Pro Bono Centre launched a series of democracy-themed Streetlaw workshops to support schools in developing their pupils’ understanding of how citizens can influence decision-making through the democratic process. The free Streetlaw workshops are targeted at 8 – 18 year olds and cover topics such as Women’s Right to Vote, Starting Your Own Campaign, What Is Parliament, and The Supreme Court.

Since the launch of the new Streetlaw materials, more than 30 BPP law student volunteers have been involved in promoting the benefits of civic engagement to over 500 schoolchildren around the UK.

In recognition of the Streetlaw project’s ongoing support to schools in embedding active citizenship in young people’s lives, it has been awarded “Gold” UK Parliament Teacher Ambassador status by the UK Parliament Education and Engagement Service.

 Kate Rothwell is a GDL student based at BPP University Law School in Manchester. Here, Kate speaks to us about her experience of the Streetlaw project at BPP and in particular her involvement with delivering democracy themed workshops.

“Belief in the power of campaigning is what led me to get involved with the Streetlaw campaigning workshop in the first place, as I recently led the campaign to legalise medical cannabis in the UK. This involved managing an online petition, organising lobbying of MPs and attending Parliament on multiple occasions to give speeches and attend debates. This experience, leading to the successful legalisation of the medicine, is one that has given me a passion for campaigning, and an understanding of the tools required to make real change. Helping to inspire the next generation to believe that changing the world is not only possible, but necessary, is something I think is so important.

So, on a windy, snowy day, we turned up at the year 6 class of Armitage School, to deliver a presentation about campaigning and why it’s so important. Going into the day I was unsure about what sort of response we were going to get, and I was incredibly impressed by the level of passion and interest the class displayed. To kick things off we gave a short presentation about historical campaigns, and I was amazed at the depth of knowledge the kids had already – clearly this was a subject they enjoyed. When it was time to develop their own campaign ideas, I had been pre-warned that there may be some less than ideal suggestions – however, I was pleasantly surprised when each group pitched ideas relating to the environment, or helping the homeless, or banning smoking outside the school gates. The level of maturity displayed in the room was amazing, and I think it really highlighted the spirit of what we were trying to achieve: to show them that it is possible to make a real difference no matter how young you are, if there is a message you believe in. As a class they took a vote, and decided to work on the campaign to get smoking banned outside their school gates in more detail; something that they were clearly passionate about, and that has the potential to be successful.

There is no age too young to start taking an active role in the world around you – as demonstrated by the campaigns created by the year 6 class at Armitage School. There is always going to be something to believe in and want to change for the better. It is important as a society to be confident in the ability of individuals and groups to make tangible changes. By inspiring people from a young age to believe in the power of campaigning, I’m sure that we will continue to see positive changes led by real people on all scales, helping children become advocates for their own future.”

Would you be interested in young people you work with learning more about becoming active citizens in society, through our democracy themed workshops? Details of how to book a free Streetlaw workshop delivered by law student volunteers for your venue can be found here: http://probono.bppuniversity.ac.uk/streetlaw/

.