Our youth engagement officer Jenny recently attended Sutton’s Joint Schools Council meeting at Carew Academy. This is a new initiative started this academic year to enable student representatives from all Sutton schools to meet to discuss issues that affect young people, share ideas and find out more about each other’s schools.
At the meeting were several Sutton schools as well as representatives from the police and the theme was around personal safety, both online and physical safety. Safety is one of the three priorities that was agreed at Sutton's Youth Summit last year.
It was fantastic to hear from Carew Student Voice members who presented some of the work they have been carrying out in school on Personal Safety. One of the students made a speech on what personal safety meant for her:
The two main topics that were discussed were around online safety and what this meant for pupils and how safe students felt when travelling to and from school. Some of the key points from these discussions were:
- Overall, students felt that PSHE covered the issue of online safety well but that they felt that more needed to be done to encourage critical thinking about what they were seeing and hearing online and to seek alternative views.
- Education of both students and parents was seen as the best way to stay safe online. Newsletters to parents was seen as a good way of keeping them up to date with online safety.
- Students would like more information from the police about what they were doing to combat crime and keep people safe. Communication was a clear issue for young people, and they would like to see improvements.
- For female students, the issue of public sexual harassment is a concern for them and they would like to see more action to tackle this.
Carew Academy Head James Kearns said ''’We were privileged to host the 3rd meeting of our joint student council at Carew. It was very heart-warming to witness the kindness, appreciation and caring that was displayed by all of the students in attendance towards our Carew students who had not attended before. Seeing how well the students from a mainstream background accepted our SEND students and accommodated their needs was inspiring, especially the spontaneous round of applause that our student received for her speech. All of the students impressively discussed all aspects of the topics around personal safety. They had some great ideas about how the Police could engage better with social media by informing them on the good work the police are doing helping to reduce crime in Sutton, of which they were unaware. Thank you to Kathy Morteo from the Met Police who fielded all of the questions and explained their successes and limitations so that students could clearly understand and allowed them to challenge her. This is an incredibly important initiative and we will continue to foster and grow this aspect of student leadership in our Sutton schools''
This information will now be presented to head teachers, the police and the council to see what action can be taken to tackle some of the issues raised in the meeting. The next Joint Schools Council meeting will take place next term at the Limes College.
Advice and support for young people about how to keep safe online can be found here.
For advice and information for parents and carers see here.