Keeping safe programme:
Our children’s safety always comes first. This is a priority. What is concerning, is that this safety is increasingly breached. We hear new developments every day involving kids from every class and culture of our school. Children are using Facebook at an inappropriate age, parents are unaware of how to keep their children safe online and the issue of cyber bullying, throughout every school in the country, is a huge and growing problem. In addition to this Hackneys teenage pregnancy rates are amongst the highest and it is concerning to us that despite this, many parents continue to opt their child out of Sex Education lessons.
Although I may have dropped what seems like an unmanageable list of problems, we are excited to take steps to develop a safeguarding package for the children and parents of our school. The aim of this is to keep our children protected to the best of our ability. Children are making themselves vulnerable without knowing that they are doing so and this is something that needs to change.
We started to approach these problems last year, working with the aid and advice of some amazing people including The Christopher Wheaton project and an incredibly insightful woman, Ann Marie, a trained social worker and administrator of safe guarding courses.
Social media is developing at a rate faster than our knowledge and as parents we are constantly playing catch-up with the latest trend. Our work with the Digital Sisters, Charlotte and Emma, last year was such an insightful aid to keeping safe online for both the children and parents of our school. What was interesting, particularly for me, as a parent myself, was that there was not one of us who did not learn something new.
In regard of Sex Education lessons, there is a worry amongst parents that what will be taught will be very explicit. In reality, most of our lessons are simply about keeping children safe, developing good relationships and exploring the meanings of confidentiality and privacy. Although this is an overwhelming time for many parents and there is a lot of apprehension about what will be said, the truth is that the playground is the place in which children talk and these conversations can never be monitored. Sex Education classes are a safe way of being informed and knowledge is power.
Conversations with Petchey Academy have brought to light a key problem in the development of our children. This is the notion that, when reaching secondary school, there is a tendency for the more able children to ‘cruise’ and not to push themselves. We realised, remembering from our own experiences, that when children get to a certain age they tend to fit in with their friends. In this way, it is so much easier to go to the lowest denominator rather than showing that they were particularly good at something. This brought to our attention that we need to change how we prepare our children for secondary school, approaching the topic of ‘fitting in’ and feeling successful not just socially but in all aspects of education.
Keep aware and informed!