• Sunday, November 27, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

London school kids will be trained to call out sexism

By: Pramod Thomas

London mayor Sadiq Khan on Tuesday (8) said that a new ‘allyship training’ package will be available to every secondary school in the city to educate and empower youngsters to help prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG), a statement said.

Khan is investing £1million to produce and distribute the new VAWG prevention toolkit, set up by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and Tender, an arts-educational charity, and support the teaching of workshops in schools.

The toolkit has lessons on building healthy relationships, calling out sexism and discussions on attitudes and behaviours towards women and girls featured in interactive workshops.

It builds on the success of mayor’s #HaveAWord campaign which urges men and boys in particular to play their part. The multi award-winning #HaveAWord campaign film will be shown in schools to encourage young men and boys to identify, call out and stand up against sexist behaviour, the statement added.

Khan on Tuesday visited Rokeby school in Newham to see first-hand how the VAWG prevention toolkit is helping boys understand why their words and attitudes towards women and girls matter.

Now available online, London’s secondary schools, colleges, community groups and faith groups can access the VAWG prevention toolkit. It is part of his record investment of more than £100m in tackling violence against women and girls.

The new toolkit will be delivered by teachers and supported by specially trained workshop leaders from Tender. The workshop leaders will be available to go into schools across London and work with teachers to deliver sessions, which are designed to educate the youth about the real impact of mistreating women empowering them to spot and challenge sexist and misogynistic behaviour.

The NSPCC research revealed that a third of all sexual abuse that children experience is committed by other children, with the majority of abuse from teenage boys to teenage girls.

According to latest ONS data, police-recorded sexual offences increased to their highest level over the last 12 months. Besides, data shows, a violent man kills a woman every three days in the UK.

The toolkit will also be made available in schools already committed to delivering a new £2m programme funded by the mayor’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) to tackle school exclusions and help young people better develop healthy relationships. The VRU’s inclusive and nurturing programme starts in 70 schools in seven boroughs across London.

“In London and across the country we face an epidemic of violence against women and girls. As well as taking action against the perpetrators of violence, I’m determined that we do more to prevent and end the violence and misogyny too many women face on a daily basis,” said Khan.

“That’s why I have launched a new VAWG prevention toolkit that will be available to every secondary school in London to help teach our next generation of men about becoming allies and building positive and healthy relationships with the women and girls they see and interact with every day.

“We must put the onus of responsibility on men and boys to change the way they perceive see, treat and talk about women if we are going to truly fix the problem of violence against women and girls and build a safer, fairer London for everyone.”

Susie McDonald, chief executive, Tender, said: “Schools create the perfect environment in which young people can learn about these issues in a safe, non-judgemental and age appropriate way. But for teachers, it is essential that they feel confident and equipped with the correct knowledge and skills to deliver this type of education. Therefore Tender is delighted that this toolkit will be accessible to schools across London.

“The toolkit offers teachers lesson plans, ideas for exercises and information to deliver teaching that is accurate and addresses difficult and sensitive subjects in an accessible, proactive and positive way.”

Jo Doyle, headteacher, Rokeby School, said that the institution is proud to be one of the UK’s first Healthy Relationships Champion Schools and will continue to promote the importance of healthy relationships.

“Our own research identified that sexism and sexual harassment begins early We know prevention work to change attitudes to gender inequality and address violence against women and girls works and offers the next generation a chance to be the change they want to see in the world,” said Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary, National Education Union.

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