Next week is Family Safety Week, a week dedicated to raising awareness of how to minimise risks to help prevent unnecessary accidents. When “More than 14,000 people die as a result of accidents across the UK each year,” you can understand why RoSPA has created a week like this to increase understanding and share advice. As much as schools should get involved in raising awareness next week, it can’t just be next week: schools need to help provide support to families and pupils to help them make safe and healthy choices day in and day out.
Create a safe environment
Ensure your school environment is safe and that pupils feel safe within it. Other than obvious things such as not blocking fire exits, keeping sharp items or chemicals out of reach/sight etc. think about things like your behaviour policy. Is it consistent? Does it make pupils feel safe? Do you have good systems in place to stop and prevent bullying? etc.
Have safety days and lessons
Have days and/or lessons dedicated to being safe. These might have a theme like road safety. For something like this, you could take groups of pupils and practice road safety in your local area. Invite parents to come along to help.
Reminders at events
Sending home letters asking parents not to park outside of school, block the car park etc. is not always the most effective way of getting parents’ attention. For one, the letter might not even make it home and, if it does, it may stay screwed up inside the pupil’s book bag for weeks or simply tossed in the bin. Catch parents while you have a captive audience: do a quick announcement at school plays or assemblies or, better yet, get your pupils to do it.
Let the kids teach the adults
Give your pupils opportunities to teach their parents how to be safe, for example, they could share videos, posters, stories etc. with their parents. This gives your pupils a purpose when learning and gives parents a gentle reminder about ways to keep safe.
Have drop-in sessions
Have drop-in sessions for parents to attend that support them in keeping their child safe. You may also want to offer 1:1 sessions to parents who you feel may need some extra help with this.
Be a role model
If you want to help pupils and their families keep safe, then you need to model appropriate behaviour yourself. If you run across the road outside school on your phone barely checking the road is clear, what message does that send to any pupils who might have seen? How seriously does that show that road safety is important?