Crucial Crew gives real life skills to 690 primary school students

10 Jul 2024

Retained firefighter Robert Sinclair and Cllr Donna Higgins at Crucial Crew. The session saw students taught about fire hazards in their home and what to do in a real life emergency.

A West Suffolk Council initiative which puts primary school students into controlled situations, so they understand what to do in real life, has helped close to 700 pupils.

Since it was launched in the mid-1990s, Crucial Crew has helped two generations of young people learn skills to help keep them safe and deal with some of the modern-day issues that they may come across in the years ahead. 

Just under 700 pupils from across 24 West Suffolk primary schools have taken part in the latest Crucial Crew held from 26 June to 9 July. The programme is coordinated by West Suffolk Council as part of its strategic priority for thriving communities and delivered by a range of public sector and charity partners.

Students learnt about everything from fire safety and what to do if they are caught up in a fire from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, to understanding healthy relationships with Bury St Edmunds Women’s Aid, a charity which helps victims of domestic abuse.

They discussed understanding consent with Brave Futures, a charity which offers specialist support for children and young people who have experienced sexual abuse. Abbeycroft Leisure, which runs the council’s leisure centres, taught pupils about how to stay safe in and around water.

Suffolk Police worked with the students around recognising hate crime and avoiding exploitation and what to do if they come across either scenario in real life. Police also discussed anti-social behaviour and the damaging impact it can have on people’s lives plus how to report it.

On Monday (8 July) it was the turn of students from Beck Row Primary School and Sebert Wood and St Edmunds Primary School in Bury St Edmunds. They were joined by Cllr Donna Higgins, a former Suffolk teacher who is now Cabinet Member for Families and Communities at West Suffolk Council

Cllr Higgins said: “Crucial Crew has benefitted more than two generations of young people since it was established. I’ve attended several Crucial Crews as a teacher and have first-hand experience of seeing how the scenarios can so effectively engage the pupils and enable them to ask questions about how they can respond to a range of situations that they may encounter during their lives. It goes beyond what is possible in a traditional classroom setting."

“As a teacher, and now as a councillor, I continue to be passionate about supporting young people in our society. This is pivotal to helping our future so that our communities can thrive."

“I’d like to thank our partners for helping us once again deliver a varied and successful Crucial Crew, providing skills that will benefit the young people including their health and wellbeing as they grow older.”

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