Cherie Booth, citizenship teacher

8th September 2006 at 01:00
She has met world leaders, fought High Court battles and supported her husband through turbulent years in Downing Street. Now the Prime Minister's wife has a new challenge: helping schools teach citizenship.

Cherie Booth QC, as she is known in her professional life, is to star in a series on Teachers' TV, the digital television channel, which filmed her visiting three schools earlier this year to join classes on human rights.

Ms Booth chatted with pupils about a range of issues, from whether schools should install CCTV cameras to the rights of excluded pupils.

The barrister, who has represented expelled students, said she enjoyed lively discussions.

"Citizenship lessons are valuable in developing better citizens," she said.

"I understand, however, why it can seem a difficult and controversial area to teach."

Simon Price-Whittle, deputy head at Erith secondary in Kent, said Ms Booth had been a great help during his lesson for 14-year-olds.

"She would cope very well as a teacher," he said. "I asked her to sum up the lesson at the end and she found that easy because she's used to summing up in court."

Ms Booth showed pupils at St Alban's primary in London her lawyer's wig, and said she had been embarrassed wearing it until a young lawyer told her she looked like Portia, the heroine in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice.

"I thought 'What a nice young man'," she said. "Do you know what his name was?"

"Tony Blair," the class chanted.

Human Rights with Cherie Booth QC begins on Tuesday at 8pm on Teachers' TV.


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