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Haxby Road in pilot to keep children safe

A health education programme session for Year Six children at Haxby Road Primary Academy. From left, Ethan Ward, Ruth Halliwell, Monta Plaveniece, Kelisha Thomas, Conor Wetherill and Rachel Malster-Hinett

Children at Haxby Road Primary Academy are taking part in a pilot scheme of a health education programme that encourages them to make well-informed, positive life choices – and to keep them safe from drugs and alcohol.

It’s a first for York from d:side, an interactive drugs education service charity that was launched in Leeds and now covers most of their primary schools.

Consultant Ruth Halliwell said that their drug and alcohol education messages added value to schools’ personal, social, health and citizenship education curriculum. “It can be difficult for classroom teachers to fit in these vital messages when there is limited time,” she said. “Ours is a dedicated service that’s age appropriate and conducted in the child’s own classroom environment.”

“There are always stories in the news about how schools should be doing more – we’re equipping children with life skills to manage sensitive situations with their peers.”

Rachel Malster-Hinett, deputy headteacher at Haxby Road Primary Academy, said: “This is really important and is another opportunity for our children to have a voice and discuss the potential consequences of poor choices regarding medicines, cigarettes and alcohol.”

In Reception, the session included how to recognise different feelings and emotions and how to stay healthy. In KS1 and KS2, the sessions progressed through a range of workshops. These activities allowed the children the opportunity to understand  the difference between medicinal and non-medicinal drugs and explore why some drugs are legal and some are illegal.

Ruth Halliwell said: “We don’t condemn the use of substances such as alcohol and cigarettes, rather we recognise their existence and provide factual information allowing children to make informed choices in the future.”

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