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Preparing learners for life in contemporary Britain

Young people are exposed to a myriad of potential risks and temptations as they enter adulthood. Some of these, such as sex, alcohol, driving and drugs, have been around for generations. Others, like online scams and county lines are newer phenomena.

We know that providers are keen to do as much as they can, not just to protect their learners from these risks, but to educate and inform them, so that they are better-placed to make good decisions for themselves. The more that young people understand the risks, the more likely they are to be able to keep themselves safe and healthy.

Ofsted has reaffirmed its commitment in the new Education Inspection Framework to inspecting how well providers safeguard their learners. They will be looking not just at safeguarding arrangements but also at how well the curriculum equips learners with the skills, knowledge or understanding required to prepare them for life in modern Britain.

In the new Personal Development judgement, they will also be considering what opportunities learners have to develop their confidence, resilience and knowledge so that they can keep themselves mentally and physically healthy and to gain an understanding of healthy relationships, including sexual relationships.

The government is also looking to learning providers to do more to help protect children and young people from criminal and sexual exploitation. On the 9th May, they published details of a new Tackling Child Exploitation Support Programme which will provide specialist support, including to teachers, to help tackle gangs, county lines, drug dealing, online grooming, sexual exploitation, trafficking and modern slavery, as relevant to local areas.

A new way for providers to support learners to keep safe and healthy

We have worked with a number of centres to design two new qualifications that will help providers address these issues with learners:

Gateway Qualifications Level 1 Award in Keeping Safe and Healthy

Gateway Qualifications Entry Level Award in Keeping Safe and Healthy (Entry 3)

These single-unit qualifications allow learners to develop their understanding of a range of issues that impact on their personal wellbeing. Topics covered include:

  • diet and exercise
  • sexual health and sexuality
  • drugs and alcohol
  • personal and online safety

This qualification seeks to empower learners by giving them an understanding of these issues and of ways to avoid or minimise risks. In this way, they are more likely to be able to take better control over their own safety, health and wellbeing.

“We believe this will be extremely beneficial to our post-16 students. It will supplement and enhance our tutorial programme. It addresses issues that are of paramount importance to young people in contemporary Britain. We know our learners want to understand many of these topics better. It will equip learners to go into the world of work and enhance their employability.”
– Jason Peters, Vice Principal: Curriculum & Delivery, Colchester Institute

What’s the added value of a qualification in keeping safe and healthy?

While it’s true that learning about these issues is key, the qualification offers a useful means of bringing together a wide range of diverse issues in a systematic way. Topics, such as drugs and alcohol, are often covered in tutorial sessions but not necessarily with any consistency across an organisation. The online, multiple choice assessment is a simple means of checking the learning, without creating an unnecessary burden for either providers or learners. Success in one qualification, in a topic which learners can see as directly relevant to their lives, can be very motivating and it may encourage them to progress onto other qualifications, with improved self-esteem.

The qualifications can also be useful evidence for centres to demonstrate to Ofsted that they are providing learners with the necessary opportunities for personal development and learning that will prepare them for life in contemporary Britain.

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