Over 2,000 primary school students from across Swindon took part in the annual Junior Good Citizen Scheme in the first half of June.
The multi-agency partnership scheme is designed to educate children about situations which can end up causing injuries or accidents, encourages them to respond appropriately to emergency situations and highlights the contribution that they can make to creating safer communities by being ‘good citizens’.
The scheme is currently taking place at the Punjabi Community Centre in Gorse Hill and has been running successfully for over 25 years alongside partnership agencies including Swindon Borough Council.
During the two week period, nearly 2,050 Year 6 pupils from 46 schools across the borough took part, accompanied by teachers and helpers. Each day, the children were put in to groups and spent approximately 15 minutes learning about the following:
• Staying safe online
• Healthy Relationships
• Railway safety
• K9 awareness (being safe around dogs)
• Fire Safety
• Personal Safety
• Road Safety
There was also a tent for the children to take part in activities and word searches.
PCSO Mandi Coles has been heavily involved in the scheme since 2003. She said: “It’s been really successful once again this year.”
“This is the most number of children we have had come along in one year, so the groups have been slightly bigger than usual, but at the end of each day, I sit down with all the children and ask them if they’ve learnt anything and every single one of them puts their hand up. They fill out a before and after questionnaire which is really useful to find out what has been most beneficial.
“The Junior Good Citizen scheme has been going for many years and I really enjoy being involved in it. It arms the children with crucial information about how to deal with dangerous and possible life-threatening situations. The children enjoy the scenarios which are the most active, but they are all as important as each other.
“The social media scenario is important because it shows them that anybody can lie online. A lot of them have social media accounts but most of these websites have age restrictions so it shows them that if they are nice people and they can lie online, what do they think people that aren’t nice are capable of doing.”
The British Transport Police were on hand to teach the children about railway safety – a particularly important issue in Swindon where the tracks are soon set to be electrified. PCSO James Lucas, of the BTP, showed the children some chilling CCTV footage of near-misses at level crossings and youngsters playing on the tracks to help drive home the importance of remaining safe near railway lines.
Hannah Grant, teacher at Year 6 teacher at Brook Field Primary School in West Swindon said: “The children were really engaged and enthusiastic about all the activities. They had a fantastic morning and learnt an enormous number of practical every day life skills. They came away deeply touched by the railway safety video and very aware of hazards they could encounter around the home if appliances are not used correctly.”