This week our students explored a variety of issues affecting young people.

Third Year Drugs and Alcohol Awareness Workshop

Third Year students took part in a Drugs and Alcohol Awareness workshop, run by the Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation. Daniel Spargo-Mabbs, who lived in Croydon, very sadly died on 17 January 2014 after taking a lethal amount of MDMA at a party. His parents consequently set up the Foundation to educate other young people and in the hope that they could help to avoid the same happening to someone else. Fiona, Daniel’s Mum, spoke to students about what happened to Daniel and the dangers of illegal drugs and of alcohol, as well as the dangers of some prescription medications.

Temi Asanbe said: “I learnt that taking drugs is a serious personal choice but there can be many serious consequences. The workshop made me think about the future and the situations I might find myself in. I think Daniel Spargo-Mabbs’s Mum was extremely brave when talking about his death and when explaining how she turned his experience into a platform for your people to think about the potential consequences of taking drugs”.

Matthew Lane added: “I thought the workshop was incredibly moving and it gave a very clear warning to everyone about taking drugs in the future. I now understand that even the people who we might think are the least likely to take drugs are still in danger and that peer pressure is a big problem in modern day society. It is a warning that drugs are never ‘cool’ or ‘fun’ because it can end in an innocent death”.

Kaden Zghari Sales said: “I found the workshop very emotional and I think Fiona is very brave for telling her story. It made me more aware of drugs and alcohol with the short and long term effects that could ruin your life very quickly. Daniel was very similar to us and we could easily make the same mistake”.

The Sutton Life Centre

Second Year students visited Sutton Life Centre to explore the risks and more challenging social situations that they may face in their teenage years.

The pupils were divided into groups and taken around four ‘life skills zones’ by experienced guides and their form tutors. The ‘Street Experience’, for example, is an urban setting with real shop facades. It deals with issues such as alcohol, cannabis, gangs, carrying a knife and bullying. The ‘Home Experience’ has four realistic rooms where students learn about fire hazards and safety, online safety, sharing images, food hygiene and healthy eating. The ‘Transport Experience’ explores using trains and buses safely and examines the impact of anti-social behaviour, such as littering and graffiti.

Dylan Patel said: “ Sutton Life Centre is a place that everyone needs to visit to learn how to be safe in any type of scenario or environment. They did not make it too scary so that we don’t fear wherever we go”.

Franco Hillier commented: “Our trip to Sutton Life Centre was important to teach us life skills that we need to know to keep us safe, especially as we grow older”.

Oscar Venables said: “I enjoyed how real the activities were. The main area was a street where we learnt about knife crime and the consequences of taking or dealing drugs. There was a flat which had four realistic rooms with cool effects. There was also a small train station where we learnt about safety on transport and lastly, there was a room with heated floors and a 360 degrees camera view”.

First Year online safety workshop with Childnet

In support of this weekend’s Digital Detox and for Safer Internet Day, the First Year were visited by Childnet and took part in an online safety workshop. They were given information on sites and services that young people like to use, plus information about mobiles, gaming, downloading, and social networking.

Luca Nissim said: “In the Childnet workshop, I learnt that even when you are taking and sending harmless photos, there could possibly be a danger in the background that maybe shows information you hadn’t intended to share”.

Alex Frost commented: “Some profiles on social media are false and you can’t guarantee anything that the person says is true. Also, I learnt that I should take a screenshot of something that might be false or unsafe and then show it to an responsible adult like a parent or teacher”.

Another student commented: “I learnt that even the privacy settings of several major social media companies are flawed and still reveal a lot of personal details. This shows that you can’t be too careful about sharing your details online”.

To learn more about online safety visit Childnet, where you will find tips for both parents and young people.

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