Housing Executive funds ‘Respect’ Education programme for a fourth year

Pupils and staff.
Pupils from St Joseph's Boys School and Lisneal College, who took part in the Children’s Safety Education Programme, funded by the Housing Executive, and held in Lisneal College.

Over 200 year 9 pupils from two schools have taken part in the Respect Programme, thanks to Community Safety funding from the Housing Executive.

An important initiative that tackles the issues of crime, anti-social behaviour and community safety, pupils at Lisneal College and St Joseph’s Boys School from the City of Derry took part in the programme.

The Respect Programme, Developed by the Children’s Safety Education Foundation, teaches young people about the consequences of anti-social behaviour and crime on communities, as well as the health, safety and well-being of young people.

£2,500 was provided from the Housing Executive’s Community Safety fund, allowing the provision of new text books, E-books, work sheets and student surveys, which had to be adapted during lockdown to ensure the children benefitted from the programme.

Michael Fitzgerald from the Children’s Safety Education Foundation has been working alongside schools to roll out this programme over the last four years.  He said:

“As part of the Respect Programme we encourage young people to challenge stereotypes, think about citizenship issues and also consider opposing viewpoints.

“This helps them deal with problems they encounter in everyday life such as peer pressure, bullying and personal safety, life skills that can be difficult to convey through normal teaching channels.”

Jackie O’Kane, from the Housing Executive’s Community Safety Team, said:

“We want to empower young people to make positive choices and play an active role in their community.

“This is the fourth year we’ve funded this community safety initiative.  It uses real life situations to demonstrate how everyone in our society deserves, and should be, respected.

“Eight schools and thousands of pupils across Northern Ireland have engaged with the Respect Programme over the last four years.

“This year’s schools, St Joseph’s Boys School and Lisneal College, are helping their pupils get to grips with anti-social behaviour issues in a constructive way.”

Aisling O’Kane, Learning for Life and Work Co-Ordinator at Lisneal College, said:

“Our year 9 pupils were very happy to be using the Respect Programme, which was kindly provided by the Housing Executive.

“Students have had the opportunity to discuss a range of issues in their Learning for Life and Work classes.

“The pupils have explored issues which can prove challenging for teachers to confront, but we believe they are essential to include in our curriculum.”

Fiona Harrigan, Learning Support Manager at St Joseph’s Boys School, said:

“Our students were delighted to participate in such a relevant and engaging programme.  The resources were reader friendly and of high quality, with articles and material really designed to get students to think about their actions.

“We are particularly pleased to have been given an opportunity to focus on anti-bullying especially since new legislation will impact all schools from September.

“We look forward to continuing to improve child safety education through partnership.”

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