Pupils at Ercall Wood secondary school have been learning about sex and relationships through theatre in a scheme funded by Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion and Telford & Wrekin Council.
All secondary schools and colleges have been offered the programme which specialises in helping young people learn about healthy relationships with education at the heart of the programmes.
So far, nine schools are programmed to see production company ‘Loudmouth’ deliver a play known as ‘Calling it Out’, which explores themes around attitudes towards women and is aimed at aimed at pupils aged 13+.
The scheme – funded by the council – was created and launched by Loudmouth in response to finding ways to tackle sexual harassment in schools through a mix of live theatre performance, interactive character interviews followed by class size discussion workshops. The format provides a safe way for pupils to openly talk about their viewpoints.
Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “It’s great to see schools across Telford & Wrekin signing up to host the award-winning ‘Calling it Out’ play. This engaging and innovative production will be an amazing opportunity for young people to better understand how to form and keep healthy relationships.
“As set out in my Safer West Mercia Plan, I am committed to tackling violence against women and girls. Sadly, in West Mercia, too many women and girls are trapped behind closed doors, living in fear of their abuser.
“Education plays a vital role in creating societal change so challenging views are not allowed to flourish and people are empowered to call out inappropriate behaviour when they see it. Together, we can all make a real difference.”
An officer from Telford & Wrekin Council said: “Sexual assault and harassment have huge impacts on girls and young women and the council is undertaking a host of measures to ensure we are doing everything possible to reduce it – starting with challenging views and opinions from the youngest appropriate age group of young people.
The safe environment means certain behaviours can be discussed and positive approaches put forward. From cat calling, consent, sexism to homophobia and gender stereotypes, the education programme aims to provide young people with a healthy, safe and resilient approach to relationships and we are happy to be supporting Loudmouth with its programme in Telford & Wrekin schools.”
The productions are regularly updated and kept in line with organisations such as the Personal Social Heath and Education Association and the Sex Education Forum, as well as working closely with campaigns such as ‘End Sexism in Schools’, to help keep places of education a safe place for all. Tour manager Caroline Bridges said: “Loudmouth have a long-standing relationship with Telford & Wrekin Council which has championed the ground-breaking work being undertaken with education around the government’s violence against women and girls strategy, to ensure these vital messages reach out to the students.
“The response from staff and students has been fantastic and we look forward to working with them in future years.”
Funding for the productions comes from the Safer & Stronger Communities project led by Telford &Wrekin Council with funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) John Campion.
The project underpins the council’s commitment to being a ‘White Ribbon’ town, taking a stance against violence against women and protecting victims of domestic abuse and survivors of a range of other crimes, such as trafficking, that inequality in society perpetuates.
Calling it out is free for all secondary schools and colleges in Telford and Wrekin and subsidies are available for other production with themes around bullying, mental health and sexual health themes including harassment and assault.
To arrange for Loudmouth to attend your school, headteachers can get in touch with the council’s safer and stronger team by emailing [email protected]