The Safer Slough Partnership (SSP) has launched an interactive programme across primary schools in Slough, which helps to raise awareness of child exploitation, and encourages pupils to make the right choices if they were to encounter any problems of this nature.
The launch coincides with National Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Day on 18th March which aims to highlight the issues surrounding CSE; encouraging everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse.
Called, The Choices Programme and developed by engagement agency Lime, the interactive software, used on tablet devices, helps young people understand who they are, and the process of how they make their choices.
It does this by using interactive stories and characters who may be similar to them and facing similar challenges in their lives. They then look at what influences their choices, and how they make decisions, and what the potential outcomes may be.
The stories and materials used in the programme have been developed using research-led design with young people in Slough.
Members of the SSP went to see the programme in action at Wexham Court Primary School on 13th March, where children from year 5 were working through modules on tablets.
To date, 20 primary schools in Slough are using the Choices Programme in lessons with pupils in years 5 and 6. The programme is also being developed for year 7 and 8 pupils and will be rolled out from the summer term.
And, to help parents understand more about CSE and what to do if they are concerned, the SSP has organised some free drop-in sessions to find out more:
• Cippenham Community Centre (Earls Lane) on 2nd April 2019
@ 10-11.30am or 7-8.30pm
• Britwell Centre (Wentworth Avenue) on 4th April 2019
@ 10-11.30am or 7-8.30pm.
• Langley Pavilion (Langley Road)
on 9th April 2019
@ 10-11.30am or 7-8.30pm
• Upton Lea Community Centre (Wexham Road)
on 23rd April 2019 @ 7-8.30pm or
25th April 2019 @ 10-11.30am
Please do not bring children aged under 18 to these sessions. For more information contact Nadine.firstname.lastname@example.org
Superintendent Sarah Grahame, joint chair of The Safer Slough Partnership, said: “The Safer Slough Partnership have been incredibly forward thinking in funding the Choices programme, to support children to make good choices throughout childhood.
“The project intends to prevent crime and children coming to harm, supporting the Slough approach of prevention, to ensure our communities are safe. I am delighted to be involved in the project and look forward to seeing the impact of a Slough wide roll out of the scheme.”
Roseanna Orsi, assistant headteacher of Wexham Court Primary School, said: “The Choices Programme is unique in its content and delivery. It really enhances children’s awareness of their own identity and the identity of others, providing them with the ability to self regulate and reflect upon their emotions and experiences.
“It also provides a platform for children to challenge, debate and discuss lots of topical issues that will prepare them so effectively for their lives. We believe that this programme is addressing the needs of today and we are proud to be delivering this at Wexham Court Primary School.”
Mark Ashfield, founder Lime, said: “Our research shows that children and young people are more open to influence than ever before, particularly in an increasingly digital world.
“We have to take steps to help them understand the many opportunities and advantages this brings whilst also being aware of the risks.
“The Choices Programme was developed to do exactly that, helping young people to understand who they are, the process of making good choices and importantly what can drive those choices, in order that they can successfully navigate the world and build their own better futures.”