News release text
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) has piloted an exciting initiative designed to boost the life skills portfolio of students at a Maidstone secondary school.
The programme, among the first of its kind in the country, has seen year 9 pupils of St Simon Stock School put through their paces in a number of challenging activities aimed at helping develop their team working and communication skills.
As part of the scheme, students were taught the co-operative aspects of firefighting, including using water at high pressure, running out hose reels, and demonstrating the use of breathing apparatus to achieve a team objective. They also received input on all aspects of fire and road safety.
Phoebe Eden, aged 14, who attends St Simon Stock School said: “I really enjoyed taking part in the drills, and learning how firefighters work together in the most challenging of environments. The course has given me a real insight into working for the emergency services, and this is certainly something I would consider in the future.”
Elliot Hill, also 14, added: “It’s been great to meet the KFRS Youth Engagement team, and I’ve certainly learnt a lot over the past six weeks. Being given the opportunity to put our new communication skills into practice made the course not only educational but fun to take part in as well."
To celebrate the successful completion of the six week programme, pupils were awarded certificates at an award ceremony at the school on 27 March. This also gave parents and guardians the opportunity to speak to the instructors who delivered the course.
Mrs Butler, a teacher at the school, said: “St Simon Stock Catholic School are always looking for exciting ways to engage the services of outside agencies to enhance the education of our students. From the moment in December when the Kent Fire and Rescue Youth Engagement team came in and introduced themselves to the students, the students have been overwhelmed by what they have gained from this experience. It has been an exciting opportunity for the students to meet the fire instructors. Over the 6 weeks the students showed a great determination to succeed and to work as a team work. They approached every task and challenge with a high level of maturity and overcame some personal apprehensions. They showed the greatest respect for the work Kent Fire and Rescue do and many of them have a new focus on their own future career pathways.”
KFRS Education Service Delivery Manager, Neil Parr, said: “Our youth engagement team regularly visit schools to pass on fire safety advice but this is the first time that we’ve been able to directly contribute to the curriculum with the ASDAN qualification. I’m delighted that the students have enjoyed the course, and we are currently planning to role out similar projects throughout the county.”
The course has been developed in collaboration between the Life Skills examining body ASDAN and the Fire Services Youth Training Association. It has been designed to be delivered by fire and rescue education teams and can be used to contribute to the accreditation of up to 60 hours of citizenship/fire and rescue activity and from part of a student’s life skill portfolio.