More than 2,000 Wandsworth school pupils given safety lessons and shown how to be Junior Citizens

Published: Friday 9th November 18

More than 2,000 children from primary schools across the borough have this year been given special lessons using real life scenarios to help them stay safe, avoid dangerous everyday situations and even how to save a friend’s life.

The ten-year-olds have been taking part in the borough’s Junior Citizen scheme which has been running across Wandsworth’s schools for nearly three decades. It is the longest running initiative of its type in the UK.

The two-week scheme is staged twice a year and teaches the borough’s year five pupils how to cope with dangerous and potentially life threatening situations they could encounter in everyday life.

Children from Battersea's Chesterton School are given lessons in first aid

The children play active roles in 12 different “real life” scenarios which include avoiding so called “stranger danger” situations, the risks of online grooming, steps they can take to reduce the chances of them becoming a victim of crime, staying safe in the kitchen and the risks and hazards of playing on or near railway lines or near lakes and rivers.

Often what is learnt in one scenario will be reinforced in another. For example, children are taught how to identify dangerous drugs, and are then led into a 'derelict house' scenario where those substances are present.

Other aspects of the scheme include lessons on first aid including how to administer CPR and placing people in ‘the recovery position’, how to how to make a 999 call, escape a fire and also on how to be a good citizen, such as helping elderly neighbours.

Attendees receive a learning pack that includes an activity booklet which reinforces the messages they have been taught in each scenario and a teacher's pack outlines a range of ideas and projects that can be used in the classroom to extend learning and reinforce key messages.

One of those who attended the latest was Wandsworth Borough Fire Commander John Snelgrove who said: “It was great to see the great work that all of the Wandsworth partner agencies do to facilitate these Junior Citizens events.

“I saw first hand the valuable safety messages that were being passed onto the children and my firefighter’s commented on how much they enjoyed interacting with the children and other agencies in attendance. The London Fire Brigade in Wandsworth will continue to support this initiative as it enables us to effectively pass on our important fire safety message to a key group within our community.” 

Learning to be Junior Citizens

The chairman of the Wandsworth Junior Citizen Scheme Cllr Richard Field said: “This really is a fantastic scheme that helps so many of our young people cope with difficult situations they may face in their community. 

“The children who take part in these exercises learn some really valuable lessons in how to react to challenging and potentially dangerous situations. Through the use of real life scenarios, actors and realistic settings, they learn how to keep calm, think quickly, and most importantly remain safe. They also learn how to help others who may be injured and how to act as good citizens.

“We're very proud of our scheme which has been providing these important messages to young people in Wandsworth over the past three decades.”

The Wandsworth Junior Citizen Scheme is funded and run by the council as part of an ongoing collaboration between the council's community safety department, its public health team and other council services, the Metropolitan Police, the London Fire Brigade, and British Transport Police. Thanks are also due to Southfields Academy for hosting the scheme.

To find out more about the scheme, or if you are a local business or community group that would like to become involved visit

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