Cornwall Councillor Gemma Massey Works with Launceston College Students
On Thursday the 31st of January, I spent a morning with our local police team (before the snow arrived and the college had to close!). I joined PC Steve Stoppard at Launceston Collage to work with a group of students from Year 9 on a project in their citizenship lesson, focusing on County Lines. County Lines has seen a lot of press of late and is a ever growing problem within our county. The idea of running a “county line”, is a drug deal from outside of the county, more often than not the drugs “runner” is a young vulnerable person, who has been sent down with just an address to pass the drugs too. It is fast becoming the lead cause of modern slavery and has some many knock on effects within our community. This new project is a fantastic opportunity for the students to look into this issue in real depth, they aim to round up the project with a series of assemblies, both within the college but also at local primary schools, to parents and also other invited attendees.
Upon arrival of the lesson, the students were engaged and happy to open the discussions with both their teacher and also PC Stoppard. They talked about some of the points that they had discussed in their previous lesson. (Which was the Q & A session for this new project.) It was interesting to see how much of the information and the amount of key points they had retained from their previous debates with PC Stoppard, clearly his previous presentation had a lasting impact on the group. The pupils were engaged and keen to get onto the workings of the projects asap!
The lesson was split into several different working groups, ranging from presentation preparation, primary school planning, poster and leaflet design and letter writing. I joined the letter writing group and we got straight to work. The class teacher, Mrs Thompson, gave us examples letters we could use as a guide for our letters to our local MP Scott Mann. I expressed how effective a letter can be to ensure you get your point across, we discussed how easy it is to simply email these days, but a letter takes time, add personality and shows how much you care. It simply can not be ignored! We broke down the points we wanted to get across within the letters that we hope to send, including what is “County Lines”? Who does it effect? How does it effect them and what do we want Scott to do about it? This led to some really good debate; Each of the students had brought facts into the lesson to input within the letter as part of their homework, we all shared them and looked at the main ones we wished to include. The pupils were incredibly passionate, they see how much of an issue this is within our county and how, by them raising awareness, they really can make a difference.
We worked hard through the lesson and before I knew it, the time had flown and we had come to the end of our time. However, after seeing the dedication of the pupils, the constant support of their teacher Mrs Thompson and hard work, support and time that PC Stoppard gives to the college and these students in particular, I knew I wanted to be involved further with this project, so committed to the class to return again this week. I will keep you posted as to how the next lessons help the project to evolve and the next steps- Watch this space!