In Community Studies, Year 9 have been learning about the qualities of healthy and unhealthy social groups, such as gangs. This is a three-lesson resource developed for schools in partnership with the PSHE association and is designed to address the topic. It includes looking at the reasons why a person might join a gang, the implications of carrying a weapon and the ways to get support with gang related issues. The three lessons follow the story of four characters; two of whom have been friends for a long time. Conflict begins when a new student joins the school and one of the friends is gradually recruited into a gang. Students had the opportunity to explore the choices of the characters and the risks that they were potentially taking at each stage. They were able to recognise the features of healthy and unhealthy friendships, understand why the need to belong is important for young people and its significance in influencing behaviour and attitudes. They also learnt about the risks and consequences of different gang behaviours. They acknowledged that it can be difficult to leave a gang but gained the knowledge of when and how to get the right help.
They will now spend the next three lessons looking at Options and careers with key dates for the coming academic year. They will explore the GCSE courses with advice on subject choices and who to go to for advice about an option choice. They will also explore careers pathways with the National Careers Service online program.