Pupils took part in a series of workshops aimed at keeping them safe and reducing the prevalence of risk taking behaviour.
The school believes that engagement in risk taking behaviour such as smoking, alcohol consumption (especially binge drinking), and drug use can be reduced by providing young people with information about the consequences of that behaviour. This approach is supported by research which has shown that when teenagers think their actions will have negative consequences, they do think more carefully before acting.
Pupils were able to take part in a number of workshops including those held by GMP's Excalibur Task Force (Gang Management Unit); a former (and reformed) member of the notorious Doddington Gang; the mother of a young girl who was accidentally shot and killed within their home; GMP's Prevent Team who held discussions about preventing violent extremism; Healthy Schools destroyed the myths surrounding the use and impact of drugs and promoted the benefits of positive body image.
A number of the workshops were sponsored by GMP’s Police & Crime Commissioner, Mr Tony Lloyd, who attended the event and commented that “St Paul‘s is a beacon for young people by forewarning and therefore forearming them and explaining that boundaries are here to both protect them and prevent them from harm.”
“The day was designed to be a major learning opportunity for our Year 9 pupils,” explained Mrs Cathie Halbert from Saint Paul’s. “The aim was to reduce the desire to participate in harmful behaviour. We looked at what motivates risk taking, why people override their natural protective mechanisms and what can be done to avoid this. It was a very hard-hitting day with the aim of protecting our pupils keeping them safe and informed.”
“Young people often underestimate the potential costs of participation in risk taking behaviour: we believe that providing information on the consequences makes such behaviour less attractive,” commented Mrs Fiona Minshall, Head Teacher at Saint Paul’s. “Sessions such as these ideally need to be early enough in a young person’s life to be preventative, catching young people before they begin to engage in any harmful behaviour.”