Academy students stage mock trial of army leader Haig

Bedford Academy teams debate on  Field Marshall Haig.
Bedford Academy teams debate on Field Marshall Haig.

Students at Bedford Academy staged a mock trial of the First World War British army leader Field Marshall Douglas Haig.

Haig was held accountable by many for the deaths of millions of soldiers, whilst hailed by others as a noble leader.

Bedford Academy harnessed Field Marshal Hague’s controversial reputation as the core theme in the mock legal trial.

Year nine history pupils were split into two teams, each charged with either prosecuting or defending Haig.

Students also acted as witnesses, including frontline soldiers, Prime Minister Lloyd George, and Haig himself in the mock trial.

The trial finished with a stalemate as the jury, comprised of A-level history students, voted guilty which was opposed by the audience who voted ‘not guilty’.

Although this drew an inconclusive ending, the tension between the decisions encapsulated the conflicting views of many academics and historians.

Claire Smith, principal of said: “The trial was a fascinating experience for everyone involved. The students clearly put a huge amount of effort into researching and preparing their arguments, which made for some really passionate cases. It was a great way to engage the students in lively debate and bring to life what they have been learning in the classroom.”

The Academy is a state funded independent school for students aged 13 to 18 but will become an 11-18 school.

Students have a 30-hour week - compared to the usual 24-25 hours - giving an extra six weeks of learning over a year.