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Belmont Community School- 11th May 2017

Belmont Community School- 11th May 2017


On Thursday, 11th May 2017 the PMNW team staged their very first Crime and Safety Awareness Day at Belmont Community School in Durham.

As soon as we arrived at 7.05am we were greeted by site staff and the warm welcome and assistance received was to last the entire day.

After the launch in the Hall the Year 9 students excitedly, if not a little apprehensively, set off on a carousel of workshops which consisted of:

1). Prison Life – a typical day in prison from reception to ‘lights out’ plus a visit to the mobile cell gave the students an insight into the realities of life in prison. Larry Peacock and Dave Witt facilitated the classroom presentation making the students aware of the facts dispelling any myths or pre-conceived ideas of prison that the students may have previously held to be true. Barrie Thornton used all of his experience when explaining to the students how conditions within the mobile cell truly reflect an actual cell within prison.

Teacher comment – “Students were really engaged – cell was very informative and students were shocked at the size, stories. Humour used to help illustrate points & students really responded well – a great lesson. Thank you!” “.

2). Street Scene – Ollie Woods and Kath Longstaff led this workshop and through discussions and role-play were able to demonstrate, with the help of some budding Year 9 actors, how simple incidents of anti-social behaviour could easily deteriorate into acts of crime with serious consequences for both themselves and the victims.

Teacher comment – “This workshop was a bit of an eye-opener for some students. Very informative. The practical aspect of this workshop helped to reinforce the information given. It was a bit of fun but with a good message. It keeps all the students engaged”.

3). Choices and Consequences – A Q. & A. session brilliantly orchestrated by Ian Revell. Two serving female prisoners from HMP Askham Grange near York shared their emotions and thought-provoking stories about how their decisions have had an enormous affect on both their lives and that of their families and victims;

Teacher comment – “Workshop was excellent. The girls were great. Rev put the class at ease and they were willing to ask questions. Really hard-hitting but informative”.

4). Magistrates  – Dave Chapman and his colleague Mary Roe  gave a presentation about the workings of the Magistrates Court and how young people could be answerable to them should they fall foul of the law, even at their tender age. The students were fully engaged in the session especially as misuse/dangers of the internet were identified as a growing problem, with special regard to sexting and grooming.

Teacher comment – “I thought the information on grooming and sexting was really interesting and relevant for pupils as they all have mobiles and social media. The real life cases were effective so pupils know what can happen if they participate”.

5). Hate Crime –  PCSO Mark Lumsden gave a presentation on this very relevant topic which allowed students to ‘air their views’ and possibly challenged their perceptions. It certainly gave them an insight into how the lives of others can be affected by often miss-informed views and opinions.

Teacher comment – “Very valuable, interesting and informative to students who were clearly shocked by Stephen Lawrence case. Brings issues today into limelight and challenges pupil’s views”.

6). Northern Power Grid – Bob Knox used his extensive knowledge of electricity to highlight the dangers associated with misuse and/or disrespect towards an everyday resource that we often take for granted. Something as simple as a phone charger would not normally been seen as a danger but the potential risks backed up by real-life facts proved otherwise.

Teacher comment – “Very valuable. All students seemed to enjoy the session. It was informative and well taught. Students listened to everything Bob discussed and watched video clips and demonstrations intently”.

On completion of the final workshop the students returned to the Hall and prizes were awarded to two students from each ‘wing’ who had excelled on the day. A very difficult decision for the teachers as they had all been enthusiastic and eager to learn.

Many thanks to the Head Teacher Mr Marsden for allowing us into his school and to Mr McMahon Senior Teacher – Personal Development, whose assistance in planning the event meant every detail was covered and led to a trouble-free day.

Thanks also to Mr Leathers and the rest of the site staff for his assistance as soon as we arrived on site and to the catering department for our lunch.

Mr. McMahon said of the day: From my point of view, in all the years of working here at Belmont (14), I have never seen a cohort as engaged, nor heard such positive feedback from students on any event provided by outside agencies/charities. It was amazing to see and would recommend Prison me No Way to any school across the country.

Head of Year 9 Mrs Laverick commented: Thank you so much for organising and providing such a fantastic day for the students.  They have thoroughly enjoyed partaking in all of the workshops which were very engaging and the message really hit home.  There was a buzz around school throughout the day with the students talking about their experience.

Finally, my sincere thanks to John Palmer, our Ambassador and Honorary Life Member, for his continued dedication and whole-hearted support of The Trust, which once again resulted in a quality learning experience for the students in Year 9 that we hope will stand them in good stead for the future.

After such a positive experience we all look forward to returning to Belmont Community School next year.

Phil Wilson – Crime Day Lead