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Solving a real life Murder Mystery at Sheffield University

On Monday 6 February, 12 Batley Grammar School students attended a History and careers based workshop organised by the York University Excellence Hub. The Universities of York, Leeds and Sheffield host a range of courses throughout the academic year, facilitated by educators and supported by students at each university. These events combine various subject skills with careers experience and a look at university life.

Our students worked in groups with other schools, firstly to attend a lecture on the ‘Princes in the Tower’ a well-known historical murder mystery. They completed some ice-breaker activities and team quiz to test their knowledge on the subject. Once this had taken place the fun really began…

Students were given a range of sources and tasked with prosecuting either Richard III or Henry VII for the murder of the boys back in the late 1400s. They had to collect evidence, discuss findings with their group and form an argument to give to a court room hearing later in the day. Students from Sheffield University supported them and the work they did was really superb.

The second part of the day focused on careers and skills. One session gave students an insight into a career as a lawyer and they role-played some court room etiquette…they would need this later in the trial they staged. The second session was run very ably by some second year medical students who gave students some extra information on the dating of bones, fatal/non-fatal injuries to skeletons and DNA profiling. All of these pieces of information would be vital in helping the teams unpick the mystery of the Princes in the Tower.

After lunch the groups had a final twenty minutes to prepare their cases and decide who would present them before the trial began. Two groups sat in the courtroom and presented their prosecution against Richard III and Henry VII while the other two groups went for a tour of the university to find out about student life at Sheffield.

Mr Linkins was fortunate enough to act as a judge for the hearing during the final part of the day. All 4 groups presented their cases most ably, drawing on what they had learnt in the law presentation. BGS students formed the core of several teams and even teamed up with other students to present their case which showed great team work and curiosity. Overall Henry VII was condemned and the group led by our very own Jak Spencer and Emanuel Soimaru were considered to have presented the best case.

Very well done to all involved!