The SafeWise charity in Dorset ran two ‘safety centres’. These were part of a national network of full size street layouts like film sets, with road crossings, trains and track, buses, cars, a house, shop, beach and much more. They were used to teach children skills for life such as safety, citizenship and what to do in an emergency. Most remaining centres are managed by local fire services or councils, and some are charities as was SafeWise.

Originally called StreetWise, SafeWise was the second centre to be opened in the UK, in 1998. It was supported by Dorset fire, police, NHS, local authorities, grant funders and commercial partners for 22 years.

Schools and other visitors were unable to use the centre during Covid-19, which resulted in a huge loss of income. With an inflexible and expensive commercial lease, and little funding available for charities not dealing directly with Covid-19, trustees had no option but to put the organisation into voluntary liquidation in early January 2021, with all staff made redundant.

360 Skills For Life Community Interest Company (CIC) was founded in December 2020 by the SafeWise Chief Executive Rob Hattersley, to build on the SafeWise legacy and learned experience, and take it forward in a format better suited to a changed educational and economic environments post Covid.

Schools tell us that they are bombarded by messages from different organisations. They don’t usually have the time to research this provision, and so they often deliver less than they would like to in this area.

We partner with local, regional and national partners such as the emergency services, councils and NHS, to join up initiatives and make them easier for schools to access, with minimum extra work.

We then help by working closely with topic specialist organisations to integrate their messaging into our programme and help meet their objectives, adding value to their existing specialist interventions. Our platform then signposts teachers to specialist content, activities and visits through our curated resources database.

Membership, whether funded by a partner agency or schools themselves, usually lasts 12 months from the date of onboarding. In the second year, additional funded places may be available, but if not, schools can subscribe for unlimited access for £300 (primary) or £500 (secondary), with discounts for smaller schools or those in MATs or other partnerships.

The intention is that additional skills for life modules such as safety, mental wellbeing, active travel, personal finance and the climate emergency will be added to school membership at no additional cost.

We are planning a Welsh language version, and are open to opportunities to widen access to the 360 platform for new audiences.

Phase 1 Safeguarding, launching in Spring 2022, is for Year 6 at primary, as well as Y7-9. Our priority now is to secure funding to extend Safeguarding resources to include early years, Key Stage 1 and all of Key Stage 2. In other words, watch this space!

Phase 1 on safeguarding, available Spring 2022, is appropriate for 10-14 year olds. That’s Year 6/Primary 7 to Year 9/Secondary 10. We hope to extend provision to the whole primary age group very soon.

In addition to the Skill City VR, 360 will provide extension activities, reading lists, and a database of trusted resources from other organisations. We will also develop and provide training materials, support drop-ins and 1:1 support.  

You will find a number of other organisations providing support in each area covered by the 360 programme. What’s unique is how 360 includes all these topics in an integrated virtual environment and teaching programme, with signposting to specialist partner programmes for extension and follow-up.

We’re different because we: –

  1. Adopt an interactive approach to learning that focuses on risk awarenessconfidence-building and good decision-making. We call this Discuss, Decide and Do
  2. Ensure powerful repetition of skills across different scenarios and themes within a unified platform
  3. Use blended learning to integrate online virtual reality, in-school classroom activity and outdoor learning​
  4. Leverage expertise and engagement from police, local authorities, NHS and other partners, maximising impact in a unified framework​

360 is building partnerships with organisations specialising in each topic area, to integrate key messaging, work together on development, develop joint funding proposals and to see 360 as a way of furthering shared objectives. We believe cooperation is more powerful than competition.

Phase 1 covers Safeguarding (details of what safeguarding topics are covered are here). For future phases, we will consider inclusion of any topic which we think ensures young people are prepared for life, not just exams. For the full list, take a look at Our Plan. If you think we have missed something, let us know.

Our Phase 1 pilot launched in March 2022. This covers safeguarding topics for Years 6-9 (P7-s10), and we have some funded places for schools in south west England and Northern Ireland. Membership will include access to Skill City via a web browser, teaching plans and resources. Schools not funded this way can sign up individually or in groups for between £240-£500 per school.

Phase 2 funding is yet to be secured but we aim for this to extend the Safeguarding resources from Y9/S10 down to Early Years. Phase 3 is likely to be on Independent, Safer and Active Travel. All member schools will gain access to subsequent resources at no extra cost in year. Click here for further information on our future plans.

We’re launching our pilot in 270 schools across south west England and Northern Ireland in Spring 2022. This will provide access to virtual reality scenarios plus lesson plans and resources to help teachers raise safeguarding awareness in the classroom. Our partners ImpactEd are delivering a full academic evaluation with an interim report mid 2022, and a full report in early 2023.

Subject to further funding, Phase 2 will extend safeguarding resources down to primary and early years. Subsequent phases will cover personal and community safety, active, independent and safer travel (including road safety), the climate emergency, mental wellbeing and much more. You can find out more about Our Plan here.

Alongside this, we will be working with partners to roll out a membership scheme to schools across the UK. We are building partnerships to provide funding for membership where we can, but MultiAcademy Trusts (MATs, England) or other school networks can fund this themselves too. Member schools will be able to access all content regardless of how it is initially funded. Find out more and sign up your school here.

NHS England and Talbot Village Trust have provided capital investment into the base virtual reality build and safeguarding scenarios for Phase 1, and Valentine Trust have supported core costs.

NHS Dorset, Devon County Council, and Police Service Northern Ireland have invested in a number of additional school memberships for the pilot phase. and IT Support 365 continue to provide some support on a pro-bono basis in addition to paid work on virtual reality and IT systems. We are working closely with ImpactEd on our full academic evaluation and theory of change.

We are grateful for the support of a number of other partners for advice, and support with school promotion.

A number of exciting new partnerships are in the pipeline for 2022. Join us!

Our first module – on safeguarding – has been designed and written by experienced teachers in the 360 team. There has been input and advice from a wide range of others including Northern Ireland and Dorset Police forces, the NHS, The Safeguarding Company (My Concern), third sector specialists, local authority and school safeguarding leads.

Supporting the 360 roll out can be a cost-effective way for organisations to scale up their engagement and cut through with target audiences, interactively and at scale, to positively influence behaviours. For a full list of benefits, take a look at our Partners page.

The core safeguarding scenarios will be ready when schools start, but updates and additional teaching materials and support will be provided regularly throughout the year.

Member schools will also have access to any new modules that are developed at no additional charge than the standard membership contribution. See our About page for details of our future development plans.

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