County's primary schools offered visit to safety centre

PRIMARY schools in Gloucestershire are being invited to bring their year five pupils for a free visit to the county’s safety education centre, SkillZONE.

SkillZONE is extending the offer to all state primary, junior and special schools after a £35,000 initiative was agreed by Gloucestershire County Council in its 2014/15 budget.

The Gloucester centre, which opened just over a year ago, has a mock village that gives groups the chance to experience 16 safety scenarios enabling young people to make decisions about staying safe.

SkillZONE will be contacting primary schools in five phases over the next three months inviting them to book a free trip for year five students through its online booking system.

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s chief fire officer Stewart Edgar said keeping young people safe and preventing accidents and injuries was integral to their role.

“SkillZONE tackles this by teaching children how to make life-saving decisions, whether that’s wearing a seatbelt or knowing what to do in a house fire,” he said.

“I’m thrilled we are able to provide these safety lessons to every year five child in Gloucestershire and I believe they will leave us armed with essential life skills which they can share with their families.”

Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said: “We know that children can gain so much from visiting SkillZONE and it’s great news that more classes could now benefit from its important safety lessons.”

All school groups will be taught about road safety, fire safety and hazards in the home, and teachers will be able to choose a further six scenarios covering areas such as water safety, using the internet, or shopping safely.

Around a third of primary schools have been to SkillZONE and research has shown that a two-hour safety tour at the centre is particularly useful to Year 5 pupils as it ties in with their PSHE curriculum.

To find out more information about SkillZONE, visit http://skillzone.glosfire.gov.uk

Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young people in England, with the most common types including road traffic injuries, drowning, poisoning, burns and falls.

In the past year, 3,784 primary school-aged pupils have visited SkillZONE and around one third of primaries have used the safety centre.

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