Dundee pupils are set to put safety first as they learn vital lessons in online stranger danger, drugs and alcohol and anti-social behaviour.
Pupils in P7 at Eastern Primary School, in Broughty Ferry, were first to embark on a Safetaysiders personal safety course which will equip them with the skills they need to protect themselves and their friends.
The first ever Safetaysiders event launched in 1991 and now in its 30th year, organisers have had to develop new ways to deliver the course because of Covid-19.
The pandemic may have stopped the traditional face-to-face lessons, but it has moved online thanks to a collaboration between Police Scotland, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Dundee City Council’s children and families service and anti-social behaviour team along with Dundee Women’s Aid.
Teachers throughout the city are being provided with learning packs to help them teach the pupils the essential safety skills.
Engaging police visits
Launching at Eastern Primary School and Ben Hilton-Christie, 11, said he enjoyed learning the law from police officers and how to keep his friends safe.
Neave Donaldson, also 11, said the skills she would learn on stranger danger would be helpful to herself and her classmates.
The learning sets, created by experts, will also cover bystander and water safety and domestic abuse.
These take the form of short, 10-minute talks, followed by an activity based on their learning.
Teacher Anna Hill said it is especially important the lessons go ahead for her P7s as they prepare to take the step up to secondary school.
She said: “The kids are really excited about Safetaysiders, especially because they haven’t been able to do a lot of things this year.
“They’re excited that they are still going to be able to take part in it and learn about their safety.
“Having the police coming in to the school as well as having them on the videos will really help engage them.
“It makes them think of their own safety and keeping out of trouble with the police.
“It’s especially important because the P7s will be moving up to Grove Academy after the summer.”
‘Valuable learning experience’
PC Scott Menmuir from Tayside Division partnership, interventions and preventions department said: “The Safetaysiders event is always an enjoyable and valuable learning experience for all the P7 students across Dundee, Angus and Perth and Kinross.
“It’s disappointing that Covid has put a stop to this year’s traditional event, but partner agencies involved have created brilliant sets to provide this valuable advice to all the P7s.
It is so important because pupils who take part will have a better understanding of risk-taking behaviour on themselves and others.”
Councillor Stewart Hunter
“For the next school year we are looking to build on this virtual event, although with a little bit of luck, the three normal in-person events will return, as there’s no substitute for positive contact between the agencies and the young people.”
Councillor Stewart Hunter, children and families convener, said: “Safetaysiders is a fantastic initiative for children, and I am delighted that it is continuing in virtual form in the face of pandemic challenges.
“It is so important because pupils who take part will have a better understanding of risk-taking behaviour on themselves and others.
“I would like to thank everyone who has made the 30th anniversary of Safetaysiders possible.”