Paw-fect way to learn as police visit school

This article was written for the Oldham Evening Chronicle on 10/2/2017. I attended this community event, and interviewed school staff and the local councillor.

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“Children at St Thomas Moorside Primary School were visited by members of the police and prison service for an interactive ‘Actions have Consequences’ workshop.

Paul McGovern from the HMP Manchester Community Team delivered the informative workshops to pupils, which explored issues in anti-social behaviour, the effects of drugs, and the dangers of social media. Children were also told how to report bullying and the best ways to contact their neighbourhood police team.

The highlight of the workshop was a demonstration with working dogs Charlotte and Gi. Children enjoyed the chance to stroke sniffer dog Charlotte, before Gi demonstrated how powerful police dogs can be by biting onto a protective sleeve.

Pupils and staff were involved throughout the 90-minute workshop, which featured activities like wearing goggles which simulate the effects of LSD and a demonstration showing how small a prison cell is.

PCs and PCSOs from the St James Neighbourhood police team helped with the activities, and at the end of the workshop GMP Oldham Chief Inspector Sarah Morton and Sergeant Nick Derbyshire presented the school with a plaque. Four pupils who had displayed excellent behaviour were given certificates and vouchers, which were donated by local councillor Ginny Alexander.

Adam Laskey, headteacher, said: “This is the first time we’ve had the workshop visit the school and it has been great.

“Not only does it make the neighbourhood policing team familiar to our children, the pupils learn to stay safe and make the right life choices.”

Chief Inspector Morton said: “The workshop is delivered in such a fun and engaging way that the children really listen and understand what they are being told.”

Councillor Alexander said: “We’ve had problems with anti-social behaviour in Sholver, so the police told me about the Actions have Consequences workshops and I suggested that they came into school.

“It really was an excellent day. It was good for the children and for community spirit.

“It has hopefully improved communications between the school, the police, and the community.”

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