Pupils take part in bold new education programme

Primary school children are learning how to protect themselves from harmful domestic abuse, in a bold new education programme touring Doncaster this week.

Launched by Doncaster Children’s Services Trust to tackle the high levels of domestic abuse in the Borough, the programme includes a live theatre show and lesson plans about healthy behaviour.

Children aged nine to 11 have been watching a performance based on Alice in Wonderland, written by a specialist drama company, Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs), and teachers. They have also taken part in fully supported classroom workshops.

The tour comes as the Trust launches a ground breaking new toolkit to help teachers and other professionals educate children about relationships and domestic abuse.  

Paul Moffat, the Trust’s CEO, said: “Domestic abuse can have devastating effects on children and young people. We want to equip them early on in their lives with the skills and knowledge to understand what makes a healthy or unhealthy relationship, and what is healthy and unhealthy behaviour.”

“Also, by communicating and opening up conversations about these subjects, we can let them know how to get help, how to stay safe and who they can talk to, if they are worried about what might be going on at home.”

“We are asking teachers and pupils for their feedback about the show and the teaching resources we’ve created. The tour and toolkit have been designed as a pilot that we will evaluate in detail to inform further development. We want to reach as many children as possible, and hope it will be used widely across the Borough.”

Principal of Hillside Academy, Michelle Walton, said: “This resource enables schools to give children valuable lessons that will equip them with essential skills as they grow up. It has been great to see how well our children have taken on board the serious messages, in a safe environment, where they feel supported and get the opportunity to talk about their thoughts, feelings and questions.”

Sarah Allard, Parent Support Advisor and teacher at Intake Primary School, helped develop the resources. She said: “I have been delighted to be part of this important project. Domestic abuse is happening at home for too many of our children. Teaching staff need to know how to support their pupils to build resilience if they are experiencing abuse, as well as to learn the right behaviours as they grow up.”

The live show, entitled A Curious Journey, was delivered exclusively for the Trust by theatre-in-education company Collingwood Learning. Together with the toolkit, it forms a complete educational resource that covers parts of the Government’s PHSE curriculum for Key Stage 2 children.  

The new toolkit and A Curious Journey are part of Growing Futures, a £3.1m Department for Education-funded project created by the Trust to reduce domestic abuse and its effects on Doncaster’s children.

Teachers and other professionals working with children can download the toolkit, and film clips of A Curious Journey, from the new Doncaster Domestic Abuse website here www.doncasterdomesticabuse.co.uk

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