Information for teachers

Understanding criminal sentencing in England and Wales – resources for teachers 

The Sentencing Council has produced resources for teachers delivering the citizenship curriculum to key stage 3 and 4 pupils. These resources will help pupils develop an understanding of how criminal sentencing works in England and Wales and give them the opportunity to try sentencing for themselves through interactive scenarios.SmartLaw - logo2ACTQualityMarkRGB

The resources have been developed with guidance from the Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT) and carry their quality mark. They also carry the Citizenship Foundation’s SmartLaw quality mark.

They fit into areas of the citizenship curriculum for Key stages 3 and 4:

  • Key stage 3: the nature of rules and laws and the justice system, including the role of the police and the operation of courts and tribunals.
  • Key stage 4: the role of the judiciary; the legal system in the UK, different sources of law and how the law helps society deal with complex problems.

The materials comprise:

To download a zip file of all the materials, click here.

They provide the learning objectives of gaining:

  • Basic knowledge of sentencing laws and guidelines in England and Wales.
  • Understanding of the different bodies involved such as Parliament, judiciary, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
  • Knowledge of the different types of court (Magistrates’, Crown, Appeal) and sentencer (particularly magistrates and judges).
  • Understanding of how sentences are decided upon and implemented.
  • Knowledge of the different types of sentences available.
  • An educated opinion by examining the current approach to sentencing in England and Wales.

In their assessment of the resource, the Association for Citizenship Teaching said:

“The Sentencing Council resource offers practical materials for citizenship using crime scenarios and when teaching about the operation of law and justice. It provides a range of engaging activities that develop citizenship skills when exploring the legal system and the role of courts and tribunals. The resource will help pupils build citizenship knowledge, understanding and skills about how the justice system works and the complex and challenging issues involved in sentencing fairly.”

Further information on different aspects of sentencing can be found in other parts of the About Sentencing section of this website. This includes detail about types of sentence, sentencing myths and how sentences are worked out.