David Plunkett

“Schools are about preparing young people for life in the round. That also includes doing work at school and doing certain exams and tests or writing personal essays for college and so on. But it also includes personal safety. Personal, Social and Health Education, Citizenship – that range of issues – and so personal safety is very, very important in a school.

Self esteem and confidence in general is what enables children to do well. That’s true academically, but it’s also true in other walks of life as well. We all know that if you’ve got confidence in yourself, if you value yourself, then your chances are so much better than if you don’t. The alternative to people feeling a low self-regard, a sense that
they’re a failure, that they’re no good….we see that all the time in people drifting away, feeling that life’s got nothing to offer them….that’s when all the bad things start happening. So, getting the self-esteem and building that confidence is central.

If anybody believes you can tell a young person how to deal with a particular circumstance that they’ll face, they’re wrong. You can’t predict all the kinds of circumstances that an individual will face. What you can do is encourage the child to think about the situation that they themselves experience, to analyse the risks that they find themselves in and to make a judgement. And judgement’s a key word as to how best to prepare themselves for dealing with those risks. I do think judgement isimportant, and anything which says you don’t have to make judgement yourself  – you can just follow a set of rules – is not really right.

It’s equipping people to make the judgements, make the calls, assess the risks, and decide how to deal with them, that’s so important. That’s why the approach of this project is one I support so strongly.”