Courtroom drama at local secondary schools

Published on: 31 Oct 2014

THE DEATH of a young boy called Jamie was the subject of a hard-hitting drama shown to students from Downend and Mangotsfield secondary schools to warn them of the dangers lurking on our roads.

The courtroom drama, called The Decision, focussed on young people between 11 and 14-years-old and their behaviour on and around roads. The play - which dealt with pedestrian safety, distraction, carelessness and choices - demonstrated how easy it is not to think about your actions, and highlighted how dangerous this can be when near roads. 

The play, based on a real life accident, included flashbacks leading up to the tragic death of Jamie. The action cut between Jamie’s home life, his school and the courtroom, telling the story from all sides and demonstrating the impact on each person involved after the accident. 

At the end of the play pupils had to decide who was responsible for causing the accident and were asked to vote, as a jury would, as to whether the driver or pedestrian is guilty.

There was a question and answer session at the end, where pupils shared some of their own experiences, and a discussion about what may be dangerous when near traffic, for example listening to music, using your phone or being distracted by friends.

Some alarming national statistics for Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs) were also given, such as there are five fatal RTAs in the UK every day, and 1 in 30 people in the UK will die as a result of an RTA by the time they are 30-years-old.

Road safety officer Pam Williams said: “Presentations such as this make a huge impact on their audience and really make them think about the issues covered. Actually seeing people act out the dangerous situations makes it much more powerful than simply dictating to the children.

“The production had some strong messages that could save lives and the pupils clearly enjoyed it too. If this makes just one pupil change their behaviour and avoid an accident then it is really worthwhile.”

One of the pupils, 12-year-old Charlie Jones, from Downend, said: “It was very influential, and really made it clear that you must think and be aware when near a road. It made it real seeing it like that, it could be one of us! I will certainly be aware when near traffic and make sure others that I am with are too.”

The drama was watched by around 2,000 Year 7 students when it toured across South Gloucestershire in October.

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