Ten Principles of Effective Safety Education

Underpinning our definition of high quality practical safety education are these 10 Principles.

1. Encourage the adoption of, or reinforce, a whole school approach, within the wider community

Resources may deliver all or part of whole school approach and should encourage or reinforce a whole school approach. A whole school approach encompasses the formal and informal curriculum, policy (both as written and as implemented) and the relationships among staff, pupils, parents, carers, with other agencies and with the wider community.

2. Use active approaches to teaching and learning (including interactive and experiential learning)

Active approaches to teaching and learning include all strategies in and out of the classroom where the learner:

Active learning may draw on the learner's personal experience (experiential learning.) A resource should describe how to manage the classroom climate e.g. using ground rules, using distancing techniques.

3. Involve young people in real decisions to help them stay safe

Involving young people includes young people's participation in real decisions about keeping themselves safe, in and out of the classroom. Young people may be involved in designing or participating in surveys, participating in their school council, choosing which activities they want to take part in outside the formal curriculum, in peer education projects, in mentoring or peer support. Activities for young people should include identification of hazards, participating in risk assessment (e.g. assessing whether risks are trivial, tolerable or intolerable) and being part of actions to control or manage risk to themselves and others.

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4. Assess children and young people's learning needs

Local and national evidence can help to identify factors that suggest children of a particular age or group are at risk. Teaching and learning strategies to address these needs should reflect the age and developmental stage of the learner, take account of social and cultural needs and the effects of gender on safety-related behaviour and learning. Strategies to assess learning needs can involve open ended forms of questioning, whether through informal discussion, mind mapping, brain-showers and circle time. They may also include more structured formats, such as surveys, focus group discussions, interviews or 'draw and write' activities.

5. Teach safety as part of a comprehensive personal social and health curriculum

A comprehensive personal social and health curriculum helps children and young people learn how to keep themselves healthy and to stay safe. It provides opportunities to learn specific and transferable skills and knowledge in a wide range of circumstances, but with attention to feelings, skills, attitudes, values and attributes. Topics should be introduced in the early years at school and extended and revisited throughout the key stages, introducing more specific language, knowledge and skill as the child develops (spiral curriculum). A comprehensive personal social and health curriculum will offer pupils a specific time and place to learn about being healthy and staying safe (such as dedicated PSHE time) but will also be cross-curricular, drawing on different programmes of study (e.g. maths, English, science, drama) to help young people access and use relevant information.

6. Use realistic and relevant settings and resources

Real life data and examples (but not those designed simply to shock) help to engage young people and to challenge misconceptions e.g. 'bullying is acceptable behaviour among children' or 'accidents just happen' where necessary. (Using data in this way is also known as a normative approach).

7. Work in partnership

Develop links with supporting agencies such as police, fire and rescue, local authorities, and educational charities where these add value to work carried out in schools and other settings. Work with parents/carers and members of the wider community by seeking their views, providing information and guidance and involving them in developing and implementing solutions.

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8. Address known risk and protective factors

Risk and protective factors can be anything that is associated with a greater or lesser probability of a child or young person experiencing harm. Risk factors are not static and can be divided into several domains:

An understanding of risk and protective factors can help those designing and delivering safety education resources to focus on wider aspects of injury prevention and personal safety.

9. Address psychosocial aspects of safety e.g. confidence, resilience, self-esteem, self-efficacy

Psychosocial risk and protective factors are individual characteristics that may predispose children to injury, or to being a victim of bullying, violence or abuse. Psychosocial aspects of behaviour operate dynamically with environmental factors, reinforcing the importance of incorporating individual protective factors (such as confidence, resilience, self-esteem and self-efficacy) within a whole school, whole community approach.

10. Adopt positive approaches which model and reward safe behaviour, within a safe, supportive environment

It is helpful to identify the short and long-term benefits of maintaining safe and healthy behaviour, and of modifying behaviour that is harmful to health. Children and adults learn from observing and modelling the behaviour of others, including peers, and generalise their expectation of positive outcomes across different domains.

For full briefing please see www.rospa.com/schoolandcollegesafety/teachingsafety/ten-principles.aspx

*RoSPA cannot be held responsible for the accuracy or completeness of any pages on linked websites.