Education has an important role to play in harm prevention
The last 12 months have been significant for gambling education and harm prevention. The launch of the Young Peoples Gambling Harm Prevention Programme was a momentous milestone in ensuring our future generations receive the awareness sessions to help safeguard them against the risk of gambling harms. The programme is the biggest of its kind and is now reaching thousands of teachers and youth workers and millions of young people.
Working together in a purposeful partnership, both GamCare and YGAM can combine our comprehensive knowledge of gambling harms with our team’s valuable experience working in the education sector. Our dedicated teams include many former teachers and education professionals which gives the education sector great confidence when supporting our objectives.
It is particularly encouraging to see the subjects of gambling and gaming now added to the PSHE/RSHE curriculum. This means that from June 2021, schools are required to deliver educational sessions to students on the potential risks and harms of gaming and gambling. The changes were originally due to take place in September 2020, but the move was pushed back to allow more time for preparation during the COVID pandemic. It’s great to see awareness sessions on gambling harms being delivered alongside other vital topics such as drugs, alcohol and mental health.
YGAM has repeatedly called for every young person to receive at least one education session on gambling during secondary school. This was included in our written evidence to the Governments ongoing Gambling Act Review and it is also listed as one of the aspirations of the Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention programme. YGAM has a series of 6 sessions per year group available to be taught as a Scheme of Work or as standalone lessons. Additionally, there is delivery for tutorial time, assemblies and PSHE drop down days, making our work more accessible for schools. PSHE education remains a key part of any young person’s development so it a really positive step forwards to see the topic gambling and gaming given the attention and recognition we believe it needs.
We match all our resources for the Young Peoples Gambling Harm Prevention programme to the curriculum specifications. Our programme is also mapped to the four purposes of the Curriculum for Wales with our resources are available in the Welsh language. We provide full Schemes of Work from Key Stage 2 through to Key Stage 5. From September 2021, our Northern Ireland resources will be ready for use. Lesson plans and resources will be mapped to the Northern Ireland Curriculum. Similarly, to other education programmes delivered to young people, we work with external experts to ensure our offering is independently assessed and age appropriate.
Both YGAM and GamCare surpassed the first-year targets for the programme, despite significant challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through our trained professionals we have reached an impressive 500,000 young people so far this year and we are fast approaching a reach of 1 million young people overall.
We engage with the education sector daily and we are constantly listening to the needs of teachers, practitioners and young people. It is very clear from these conversations that they all need and appreciate the programmes resources more than ever. There is an enormous demand for information on gambling and gaming harm and the overwhelmingly positive feedback we receive motivates us to keep working hard to put education for young people at the forefront of prevention.
We must continue to be guided by professionals working in the education sector to deliver effective prevention programmes to young people. It is a privilege to work with so many fantastic teachers and youth workers every day. Together we are educating and safeguarding future generations.
Kyle Riding is YGAM's Head of Delivery: Education