LAST SUMMER, the Safeguarding Ambassador Programme was launched with Year 12, giving students the opportunity to be trained to raise awareness of safeguarding topics to younger pupils in an engaging and relatable way. Keeping children safe is top priority for any school and this involves teaching pupils about risks to their health and wellbeing. With some topics, however, evidence suggests that presentations and discussions led by older students can engage pupils far more readily than when they are led by teachers.
Given the sensitivity of some issues around safeguarding children, the training element is essential – students were taught how best to address the issues, risks and dangers, as well as how to deliver material on these topics effectively in order to inspire a thoughtful and mature response from younger pupils. Students chose to focus on stress and anxiety associated with academic work, characteristics of abusive relationships, sexual identity, social media and body image.
We were deeply impressed with participants’ commitment to the programme. From the start they demonstrated the qualities of openness and compassion in discussing challenging topics over the course of regular meetings during the autumn term. They then combined this with assiduous planning and a confident and inspiring form of delivery, including during the Year 9 launch assembly with Arjun (Y13) and Spyros (Y13).
As a team, they were also gracious in acknowledging that Wilson’s is a busy and complex school and their patience and good grace has ensured that the programme could fit seamlessly into Year 9 PSHE; I know that Mr Burton and the other teachers of PSHE in Year 9 will return to the themes they introduced as the year unfolds.
Arjun showed particularly outstanding leadership in chairing the meetings since October and liaised with the PSHE team and Mr Burton to organise the assemblies and lessons.
We are very confident that this programme can run again in future with a new team of students from the current Year 12 perhaps working with more than one younger year group next year. Safeguarding Ambassadors will be invited to take part in the conference we are hosting at Wilson’s on 15 May 2019: The Mental Health of Academically Able Children.
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