Schools in Shropshire are among those in the West Mercia Police Force to start piloting the resources.
Funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner in partnership with the Royal Life Saving Society UK and the Home and Dry network, the lesson plans and resources are tailored for different ages and key stages from early years at five years old to 11 years old.
The scheme was launched on Friday (1) by the Commissioner, John Campion alongside Vicki Jones the mum of 18-year-old Tom Jones who lost his life in the River Severn in Worcester in September 2018. An inquest into his death heard that he may have been going to help someone after hearing a cry for help.
The materials have been shaped following thorough analysis into the drowning problem in the West Mercia area and have included input from a range of agencies including police, fire services, search and rescue and charities including the RNLI and the canal and river trust.
The key messaging is linked to the Water Safety Code and is designed to be used cross-curricular, from singing sea shanty’s in music lessons, to learning how to use a throwline in PE, to exploring floating and sinking in science. Adaptions have also been made for pupils with special education needs and disabilities.
Eight schools across Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire are piloting the resources, with the view to expand and ultimately help bring water safety education on to the curriculum nationally. Over 200 professionals have downloaded the resources online.
Commissioner John Campion said “This is a mammoth step, towards keeping people safe for generations to come. Education can be key in changing behaviours and I hope my investments will help to create a long lasting legacy. If these resources can prevent just one further tragedy they will be worthwhile.
The Home and Dry network has come a long way, and it’s with the drive, and expertise of all of the agencies working in partnership that we have been able to reach this point. I hope that anyone who works with children in any capacity will take advantage of these excellent resources.”
Lee Heard, Charity Director at RLSS UK said “Water safety education is vital and, in some instances, could be a child’s only opportunity to learn about the water. RLSS UK and the Police and Crime Commissioner have been working hard to put together resources which can be delivered in the classroom or at home, which means while there may be barriers to accessing water, every child can still benefit from water safety education.
“Our water safety resources encourage a safe relationship with the water and we hope it will inspire children to have a future relationship with water, with all the mental and physical benefits that being in, on and around water brings”