Pathways to Law targets students from under-represented backgrounds
11 December 2010
At a time of great concern about the future of fair access to Higher Education, particularly for already underrepresented groups, the University of Bristol Law School is engaged in an exciting new venture for A-level students in the South West region. The School has just launched the Pathways to Law scheme, a four year initiative designed to provide opportunities for 150 students from local state schools who are interested in a career in law. Jointly run by the School of Law and Widening Participation Office, supported and funded by The College of Law and The Sutton Trust, the programme targets students from under-represented backgrounds and provides support throughout years 12 and 13, and beyond into university.
The academic components aim to be informative, invigorating and inspirational. Designed by Senior Lecturer, Lois Bibbings, and delivered by a number of staff and research students in the School of Law, sessions provide information, facilitate discussion and develop critical thinking skills as well as giving students an insight into what studying at a research-intensive university is like. In their first classes students discussed young people and the law, considered the parameters of equality law and debated the appropriate legal responses to medical negligence. Future sessions will see them studying human rights, homicide, necessity, environmental law, the connection between law and ethics and legal methods.
Our Pathways students get the chance to experience studying law at Bristol, as well as practical advice about applying to university, financing their studies, and working as a lawyer.
There is also the opportunity for students to participate in a 3-5 day placement with a law firm as part of the Pathways programme. The placements take place during school holidays, and students learn about the structure and functions of a law firm, meet a wide variety of people from senior partners through to trainees and develop their ‘skills. The placement provides experience which will be invaluable to include on a university application.
At the end of their two years on the programme, students are invited to attend a ‘graduation’ ceremony to celebrate their completion of the Pathways programme, and to wish them well for their A-level results and future studies and careers.
The Pathways scheme both builds upon and adds to the School of Law’s long and award winning record of working with local schools and engaging with the community.