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Personal Safety Education

Schools can help children and young people to develop the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes that they need to keep themselves safe now and in the future.    

Personal safety is a key part of a programme of PSHE education, which schools can develop to meet the needs of their pupils. 

Areas that may be covered include:

  • Accident prevention
  • Communication skills
  • Drug education
  • Healthy relationships
  • Online safety
  • Rights and responsibilities
  • Problem solving, risk management and decision making 
  • Emotional health and resilience
  • Road Safety
  • Weapons and gangs
  • Accessing help and support

Wiltshire's Healthy Schools programme asks schools to provide evidence of a whole school approach to health and wellbeing, which contains a range of actions and school provision to promote personal safety. 

Knife Crime Awareness Videos: There are short videos the Youth and Early Intervention Team created alongside students from Wiltshire College, who provided their own insight into what knife crime awareness means to them – the complete set of videos can be viewed above and here.

Input on knife crime and other aspects of personal safety should always be delivered in a safe learning environment is established at the beginning of any PSHE education lesson.

It is good practice for teachers to: 

  • Work with pupils to establish ground rules for discussion
  • Distance and de-personalise the learning from the students to discourage personal disclosures
  • Avoid any attempt to induce shock, fear or guilt, as this is counterproductive in PSHE education* 
  • Make boxes/envelopes available in which students can place anonymous questions or concerns
  • Make students aware of sources of support and reporting mechanisms, both inside and
    outside school.

*Whilst young people will often say that they like ‘hard-hitting’ material and that it engages them more effectively, in fact when experienced in a safe setting (in this case a classroom), shocking images become exciting (in a similar way to watching a horror film or riding a rollercoaster) and this excitement response can block the desired learning.

Equally, for anyone who has previously been affected by something similar, it can re-traumatise them or they can block the message as it is too close for comfort, which again prevents the intended learning. It also presents a scenario which is more likely to make young people think ‘that won’t ever happen to me’ than the desired ‘that could be me’ response.

Links to teaching resources

Resources for schools to teach about personal safety, as part of PSHE education:  

  • Run Hide and Tell resource packs for KS3&4 (ACT/PSHE Association, 2017) This resource pack was produced by the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO), as part of their ACT for YOUTH campaign to inform 11-16 year olds of how best to react to a gun or knife terror attack.  
  • The Ben Kinsella Trust Lesson plans that explore the real, lived experience of people affected by knife crime (KS2-4)
  •  An increase in knife crime (Red Cross, 2018) Teaching materials to discuss how to defuse tension and avoid conflict, and the first aid for someone with a heavy bleed. (Ages 11-19). 

  • Neighbourhood Watch Serious Violence Campaign Toolkit A compilation of free campaign materials on a range of topics, which will help parents and other adults raise the subject with children, to try to stop them from carrying knives or other weapons.

Useful Links

British Values and Prevent (on this site) 

Wiltshire Council Road Safety Education Services 

Wiltshire Council Drug and Alcohol Misuse pages

Wiltshire Police: PSHE support

Forest Schools

Home Office: County lines - protecting vulnerable people from exploitation: posters (2017)

Lives Not Knives - national campaign  

Neighbourhood Watch - Building Safe Neighbourhoods

No Knives, Better Lives

Rise Above pages for young people on smoking. alcohol and other drugs