Healthy Schools Day at Ysgol Talysarn, Gwynedd

Ysgol Gynradd Talysarn, held its annual Healthy Schools' day on the April 30th 2012, focusing on Alcohol and its consequences. The day had been planned in conjunction with PC John Paul Rowlands, the School Community Police Officer, who would be delivering lessons, activities and discussions with pupils, parents and staff throughout the day. These lessons are all part of the All Wales School Liaison Core Programme delivered to all schools across Wales.

The day began with PC John delivering a drug lesson to 5 to 7 year olds. The lesson helps pupils understand the dangers and benefits of medicines. Later pupils aged 7 to 11 years of age learnt about the consequences of misusing alcohol. As always PC Rowlands brought aspects of the law to the pupils’ attention. Pupils were also given the opportunity to wear special ‘beer goggles’ which make it difficult to see properly or walk in a straight line! Pupils commented:

“I couldn't walk along the straight line- I saw double. It made me feel funny”

“It made me think if I was seeing double how could someone drink and drive safely?”

As part of the themed day parents were invited to meet PC John and discuss the resources used with pupils. The SCPO introduced himself and described his role within the school and the community. The local Community PCSO joined parents in viewing lesson DVD clips. 

Initially parents questioned the relevance of alcohol education for primary aged pupils. PC Rowland’s responded that early intervention education is important to enable children to make the right choices. He was supported by a parent’s local experience as a paediatric nurse. She reported they were already experiencing alcohol related problems with young people in their initial years in comprehensive school. Another parent commented: 

“I work as a bouncer on the weekend and I see all sorts of consequences following drinking. It's important to talk about these things with our children”

The day ended with the staff and the SCPO discussing the messages that had been delivered during the day.

One teacher in the school said:

“I’ve learnt how alcohol affects people in different ways. It's been a good day with everybody, including the parents, having the same safety messages from PC Rowlands.

The children, in particular, have responded positively and remember the messages

PC Rowlands was pleased with how the pupils had responded and how they had remembered facts from previous lessons.

“I was pleased to see to see both pupils and parents responded positively to the information given and felt able to ask questions”.

PC Rowlands rounded up the day by directing everyone to the website for further information and together with the PCSO distributed cards and leaflets about local issues and help lines. 

The head teacher summed up the day by saying that the role of the SCPO within the school and community was a very important one and there was great respect for the All Wales School Liaison Core Programme and the work of PC Rowlands.