Year 8 learn that Prison is not for them

On Tuesday 21st November, the team from the No Way Trust delivered Prison Me No Way for the third consecutive year.

As part of our commitment to high quality citizenship education, Year 8 were treated to workshops delivered by visitors to the school to educate pupils on the importance of making good choices and the possible consequences of making wrong choices.  To support pupils’ pastoral needs, their Form Tutors spent the day with them following an alternative timetable of workshops.  Below is an outline of the workshops on offer:

The Street Scene:

The back of the Hall was transformed into a street with a shop.  Ex-prison officers from the No Way Trust used role play to guide pupils through everyday decisions and behaviour in public and challenged pupils to consider the impact that their behaviour might have on others.  This included exploring anti-social behaviour and enabling pupils to consider how sometimes, unintentionally, their behaviour in public might have negative consequences on others and lead them into trouble with the law.

Prison:

This workshop was delivered by No Way Trust workers who have been prison officers.  They describe what life is like in prison, the purposes of prison and taking questions from pupils.  The most memorable part of this workshop is to visit the prison cell, constructed inside a box van and containing real prison furniture.  Pupils are often surprised by the lack of space, privacy and dignity.

Choices and consequences:

Pupils listen to the account of one of our visitors who is now a youth worker.  His story is shocking as he describes the choices he made as a young person (from the same age as our pupils), his life of crime and how he ended up making more wrong choices culminating in his imprisonment.  This real account is hard hitting but full of hope.  The message is that wrong choices can often lead to more wrong choices and this can have disastrous consequences, not just for the individual but for their family and friends.

Gangs and knife crime:

This workshop was in place of the Red Cross workshop and was delivered by No Way Trust staff.  The workshop explores the issues of gangs, knife crime and recent acid attacks.  It explores the personal, social and legal consequences of this activity.

Respect:

This workshop dealt with some very sensitive issues related to respecting others but also challenging the idea that anything can be tolerated.  This workshop was a challenging talk with reference to the law on issues related to extremism, hate crime and culture-related crimes.

Fire:

The Fire Brigade gave a talk on their work and their main interactions with young people.  This included prank calls and arson.

Rail Safety:

This workshop was delivered by Network Rail and the British Transport Police.  It included some hard-hitting messages about the dangers of trespassing on the railway and the importance of controlled behaviour when using trains.  It also dealt with safety when using level crossings.  Pupils were also shown the enforcement van that is used to catch people trespassing or driving through level crossings when the warning lights are showing.

As the day was mostly run by those who have worked in prisons, it is customary to recognise pupils who worked hard and demonstrated outstanding engagement.  Two students from each form were nominated by their Form and received chocolate and footballs.

Pupils were highly engaged throughout and dealt with the content with maturity and sensitivity.  It is hoped that the messages given will reinforce that choices have consequences and that the stories from the day will stay in the memories of our young people so that they make wise decisions in the future.