Pupils in Oxfordshire set to benefit from support service tackling mental health and knife crime

By Sarah Edwards at

Mental health, knife crime and personal safety are just some of the issues covered in a new support service available to all secondary school pupils across the county.

Secondary schools in Oxfordshire are being urged to sign up to a free support programme which will provide Key Stage 3 pupils with the core skills around topics related to health, personal safety and adolescent crime. Award-winning provider The Training Effect (TTE) has been commissioned and funded by Oxfordshire County Council Public Health to deliver the new three-year scheme.

TTE has a strong track record of delivery in the county, having previously worked with all secondary schools across Oxfordshire since 2013 delivering its ‘In-Formed’ sessions to more than 35,000 young people. The new scheme, called “The Safety Effect”, will focus on teaching Protective Behaviours, an approach that increases personal safety through interactive activities and sessions with young people. Its aim is to equip young people with the necessary skills they’ll need to make informed decisions as they navigate risky situations through their adolescent years.

Mark Bowles, Director of TTE, explains: “At its core is the Protective Behaviours approach, a focus on ‘children’s right to feel safe’ and to be able to ask for help from adults. This will include the teaching of life skills through interactive sessions. The sessions will cover areas such as healthy relationships, consent, gender stereotyping, managing risk, knife crime, alcohol and drug abuse – all with the common aim of developing skills in young people to make informed choices throughout life.

“Importantly, the new scheme will also support Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education, meaning that schools that sign up will be ready and compliant for the introduction of statutory PSHE which comes into force in September 2020.”

Sam Casey-Rerhaye, Commissioning Officer, Oxfordshire County Council said, “We are very pleased to be continuing our positive working relationship with The Training Effect over the next three years. This new service has been commissioned by us to bring consistency of message across the county and champion the protective behaviours approach to preventative education. “All young people have the right to feel safe and this new service will promote the skills and values which can make this a reality.”

The programme is offered to all Oxfordshire pupils in secondary education in Years 7-9 (ages 11-14). It is also available to pupils in non-mainstream schools, such as special schools and EBD (Emotional Behavioral Difficulties) schools. The initial roll-out of the programme will has started, with the county-wide uptake starting in September 2019. As TTE’s existing ‘In-Formed’ project has been such a success, schools are encouraged to sign up as early as possible to ensure they don’t miss the opportunity to take advantage of this free service. Any schools wishing to sign up to the scheme are encouraged to get in touch with TTE’s project coordinator, Aaron Bowes. Telephone 01233 503795 or email aaron@thetrainingeffect.co.uk. Information about the programme is available at www.in-formed.org.uk