Law Curriculum Intent

Law is an option subject at Key Stage 5 at John Henry Newman Catholic College. Law is the endeavour of human beings to govern our personal, social, economic, and political relationships through the use of rules. To study law is to study the nature of those relationships. Studying Law gives students an understanding of the role of Law in today’s society and raises awareness of their rights and responsibilities of individuals.

The curriculum design is underpinned by the AQA A-Level Law specification. Although, as an examined subject, we are driven by exam board specifications to a certain extent, the Law department relates the concepts being taught directly to the needs of learners we serve in the community using a range of teaching and learning strategies and everyday examples to enhance understanding. Schemes of work are detailed, with engaging resources and designed to encourage and prepare students for, ideally, studying in Higher Education. We aim to create opportunities for all learners, irrespective of their starting points to make, at the very least, good progress in the subject. This includes study trips for students (to the Houses of Parliament, the Old Bailey, and the Birmingham Law Courts) offered to provide students with an opportunity to develop a better understanding of how the law is used and applied in practice. This, in turn, not only helps students to achieve highly within the subject, but it also raises their awareness of the controversial and debated issues of the state-governed rules in England and Wales.

The law department has elected to deliver this A-Level as a linear course, meaning that there are no external exams until the end of the second year. The reasoning behind this was due to the differing structure of questions in the exam for AS-Level and A-Level, with the thought that some students may face difficulties with learning different exam technique in addition to content in preparation for the full A-level. The structure of exams for the A-level, which applies to all papers respectively, enables students to show their breadth of knowledge and understanding of legal issues through a simple and straightforward layout which use mixture of question types including multiple-choice, short answer and extended response questions. Essay writing and exam practice (alongside the development of analytical ability, decision making, critical thinking and problem-solving skills) for each of the questions is built into the curriculum for each topic covered to provide students with a sound knowledge of what is expected of them for each type of question from the very start of the course.

Within A-Level Law there are three mandatory topics of study: English Legal System, Criminal Law and, Tort Law. The third paper is optional, with a choice being given to providers between Contract Law or Human Rights Law. The Law department has chosen to deliver the Contract Law option because, not only is it a more logical and strategic branch of Law (making it easier for students to follow and apply), it is also a mandatory area studied as part of a qualifying LLB Law degree. With many of our students opting to study Law at university, this then provides them with a sound basis for that future study.

Overall, the study of Law provides learners with comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the rules that our society must abide by, as well as ensuring that they are capable of forming well-reasoned arguments based on precedented law. Whether or not students choose to pursue Law as a discipline at university, they are provided with skills highly sought after by both higher education providers and employers alike.