Challenging theme for pupils
LOCAL students have been tackling issues of unhealthy relationships and child sexual exploitation (CSE) at Latimer Arts College in Barton Seagrave, during their launch of this year’s County Schools Challenge.
The aim of the 2016 County Schools Challenge is to encourage pupils across Northamptonshire to come up with an enterprising idea about how to help other young people understand what a healthy relationship should be, and where to turn when their relationships become unhealthy or abusive.
Each participating school has its own launch, in which they introduce the idea of the challenge to their pupils before sending students off to work on ‘business plans’ in groups.
Later this year, a semi-final and final will be held, featuring teams from schools across the county, culminating in an appearance at the Lighthouse Theatre, Kettering, before a Dragons’ Den-style panel of experts who will pick the overall winning idea.
To coincide with last week’s launch, Latimer Arts College teachers arranged for students to see a play called Chelsea’s Choice, which focuses on CSE themes.
Chelsea’s Choice is a hard-hitting theatre project, run by AlterEgo Creative Solutions, which is designed to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation. The play tells the story of three students who find the diary of a young girl called Chelsea. Chelsea meets an older man called Gary and soon discovers he is not what he seemed to be.
AlterEgo Creative Solutions has been commissioned by Northamptonshire County Council and the Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children Board to tour Northamptonshire secondary schools with this production.
The play links in with just one potential subject area that could be explored by students focusing on this year’s County Schools Challenge.
Assistant principal, Jyoti Pankhania, said: “When I saw this year’s theme I thought it was perfect. Our young people are always up for a challenge and the head boys and girls have already come up with some ideas. I also thought it would be great for them to meet young people at other schools and take part in something county-wide.
“I felt the theme was right and fits in with everything we are teaching young people about safeguarding and looking after themselves.”
To help with the in-school launch of the County Schools Challenge, Shaun Johnson from the joint Arson Taskforce (Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service) gave a talk to more than 100 pupils at the school about the theme and the background to the challenge.
He said: “I know the different schools taking part in the challenge are approaching the theme of healthy relationships in different ways. One school is focusing on friendships and the impact on school life when friendships break down. Latimer Arts College is focusing on CSE – which, of course, involves unhealthy relationships which are extremely damaging situations to be in.
“This year’s theme has relevance in so many aspects of young people’s lives and I look forward to seeing the ideas that each school comes up with.”
For updates on the County Schools Challenge, go to Facebook and ‘like’ the County Schools Challenge page: facebook.com/CountySchools Challenge or follow them on Twitter: @ncsc_challenge
LAUNCHING ‘BUSINESS PLANS’: Above, Shaun Johnson and students from Latimer Arts College pose for a photo in front of the County Schools Challenge logo. The theatre project Chelsea’s Choice is designed to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation and the production is touring local schools this year.