Goldilocks on trial

Here’s what pupils from Manchester learnt when they put Goldilocks on trial as part of a courtroom workshop delivered by the National Centre for Citizenship and the Law (NCCL).

A Year 3 group from Abbott Community Primary School recently took part in one of NCCL’s courtroom activities called The Trial of Goldilocks at the Greater Manchester Police Museum.

This activity introduces Primary school pupils to the law and how to live within it, and encourages participants to think about consequences and the importance of honesty.

It also teaches children about the courts and the different career roles within the legal system, as they explore law and order through a familiar fairy tale.

The Trial of Goldilocks

In this particular activity, Goldilocks is charged with breaking and entering, breaking a chair (criminal damage) and eating Baby Bear’s porridge (theft).

It is up to the pupils to decide if Goldilocks is guilty or not guilty.

During their visit, the Abbott Community students were allocated roles in the trial and got into character with masks, wigs and robes. Goldilocks took her position in the dock and pleaded ‘not guilty.’

Kath Downs, NCCL learning manager in the dock leading a workshop with Abbott Community Primary School

Pictured: Kath Downs, NCCL learning manager in the dock leading a workshop with Abbott Community Primary School.

After hearing evidence from both the prosecution and defence, and some very imaginative cross examinations, the jury reached a unanimous decision that Goldilocks was guilty. The judge consequently sentenced her to buy a new chair for Baby Bear.

During the workshop, the group was joined by two local police community support officers (PCSOs) from Manchester. Gag Hare and Adam Harvey were involved in the role play, giving a character reference for Goldilocks in the witness box.

PCSO Gag Hare said: “I wish I had this opportunity when I was at school, it’s good to be here and to help break down barriers as sometimes children can be scared of the police.”

Positive reactions

Year 3 pupil Vishakh said: “I liked being the judge sitting in the high chair where I could see everything.”

At the end of the session, the group told the education team that they had learnt “never to do something bad.”

Nicola Henderson, a teacher at Abbott Community Primary School, said: “We’ve really enjoyed the practical engagement, all the children were involved in the courtroom activity, it didn’t matter what their ability was. 

“They have learnt more about the consequences of actions and being in the courtroom and visualising the space is a really good experience. We will be doing some follow-up work after the visit in PSHCE.”

Vishakh was given the role of Judge in the trial

Pictured: Vishakh was given the role of Judge in the trial.

The aim of the visit was to broaden horizons for pupils and to support personal, social, health, citizenship and economic (PSHCE) education, which Abbott Primary believes to be important as it promotes the social development of pupils and prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

More about the NCCL

The NCCL deliver legal education workshops in courtrooms across the UK including Manchester and the north-west, working with groups of all ages including University level.

Courtroom workshops are based on real contemporary and historic trials including cyberbullying and robbery.

The workshops enable people to gain a practical understanding of the law and justice system and its related history, so that they can be inspired by their rights and responsibilities, to play an active role in society.

Teachers interested in booking an NCCL workshop should e-mail or visit

(Photo credit: Chris Oldham, Greater Manchester Police).