School's out (or nearly so) for most of Scotland’s pupils. What better time to reflect on both the fantastic work that goes on in classrooms across the country, and the part the Society and solicitors play in raising awareness of the legal profession and encouraging pupils to develop the skills they need for a career in the law?
The buildup to the end of the school year is one of the most enjoyable in my diary, with the past couple of weeks involving participation in both the education equivalent of the Oscars and our annual school debating tournament.
It was a privilege to present the Global Citizenship Award at this year’s Society-sponsored Scottish Education Awards. Pupils from St Stephen’s Primary School in the Sighthill area of Glasgow were worthy winners for their work integrating children from 39 nations into the community.
Then, later the same week, the Society hosted the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament in the Scottish Parliament. The standard of competition was as high as ever, with Craigmount High School pupils winning the day in a debate on making voting compulsory in Scotland. Launched by the Society in 1999, it is now the biggest schools debating tournament in Scotland, with well over 100 schools a year competing. The enthusiasm and talent of those taking part never ceases to prove a source of optimism for the future.
All our other work with schools – legal study and careers events, visits to schools by solicitors and students, supporting the Schools Law and Citizenship Web (www.schoolsproject.co.uk/slw.htm) – continues after the summer break. Following our own recent recommendation to MSPs that greater awareness and understanding of the legal system should be promoted, we are also hoping to launch a public legal education strategy later in the year, with an initial focus on schools. Look out for more details in the months ahead. Until then, enjoy your summer holidays.Lorna Jack is Chief Executive of the Law Society of Scotland