Students studying on Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form’s BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science, have recently been learning the delicate and intricate study of forensics as part of their course.

Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form boasts an outstanding Science department, which was recently awarded STEM Assured status. This award is given to College’s which provide the best education in Science, Technology (including IT), Engineering and Mathematics, and Nelson and Colne College is one of only 4 colleges across the country to have achieved this prestigious title.

During the BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science, students study a module called Forensic Evidence Collection and Analysis. In this unit the students learn how to look for different types of evidence, how to collect the different types and then how to analyse the evidence in the lab. They then use this analysis to make valid conclusions as to what the evidence suggests about a crime. To follow on from this, they then study a unit called Criminal Investigations in Practice. This allows the students to looks at the whole investigation process of a crime; from collecting witnesses, to interviewing them and then analysing the interviews to establish the perpetrator of the crime.

These two units are eagerly anticipated and this year, students were able to investigate a mock crime scene, complete with a ‘body’ dummy! After using the skills they had acquired to gather evidence from the ‘crime scene’, the students labelled everything and returned to the labs to analyse the evidence.

In order to ensure that they charged the right suspect, the students needed to collect and analyse the evidence correctly and then interview the suspects. If they collect the evidence incorrectly, or do not use their interview skills appropriately, then the wrong person could be charged with murder!

As an added extra, some of the College’s Performing Arts students played the parts of the suspects and other witnesses, giving the science students a real opportunity to practise their cross examination skills, and the Drama students a chance to perfect their acting skills!

To conclude the activity, all the evidence and interview information will be brought together in a Mock Court room scenario in the next couple of weeks. The question is…Who did it?