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Interactive stories get personal touch

Pupils in West Lothian and Edinburgh will be the first to benefit from a new personal safety interactive resource being sent out to schools in the area this week.

Aimed at P6 and P7, Keeping Me Safe has been developed by West Lothian and a software company, Learning Curve, to replace the existing Feeling Yes, Feeling No programme in use in many authorities. "It was the view of education officers and headteachers that the existing resource was in dire need of reviewing," says Hugh Tuckerman, senior education manager.

"Working in partnership with Learning Curve, we've developed a new resource that has a more modern feel to it and therefore more appeal to the children."

Together with the police, social services and health departments, Learning Curve has produced a series of 10 animated stories that address pressing personal safety issues facing children: being outside, dealing with new situations, stranger danger, peer pressure and deliberate risk taking, safety on public transport, internet grooming and chatroom safety, inappropriate touching, domestic violence, sexual abuse, trust and talking about problems.

"The existing resource is more than 20 years old and doesn't address many of the issues facing children these days, such as internet grooming or chatroom safety," says ex-teacher Alan Wait, managing director of Edinburgh-based Learning Curve.

Each story is accompanied by interactive questions which can be used to start discussions and provides strategies on how to react in different situations and how to deal with them.

Through discussion of scenarios and a variety of reinforcing activities, the young people will have the opportunity to reflect on personal safety messages and ensure that they will be able to apply them to real life situations.

Edinburgh is the first authority to sign up, but others are also buying into the scheme. Midlothian and East Lothian are expected to send it to their primary heads shortly, with interest further afield from Dundee, Highland and south of the border.

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