Gold stars all the way for Valley high school

St Augustine's pupils win chairman's challenge
St Augustine's pupils win chairman's challenge

A group of pupils from a Ribble Valley high school are £1,000 better off after highlighting the sensitive issue surrounding child sexual exploitation.

Pupils from St Augustine’s RC High School beat strong competition from schools across Lancashire to scoop the top Gold Award, as well as a cheque for £1,000 in the Chairman’s Challenge – a competition run by Lancashire County Council.

The aim of the contest was to enable schools to develop innovative ways to encourage their friends and families to make positive lifestyle choices as set out in the council’s wellbeing agenda.

The Challenge invited Lancashire School Councils to formulate a plan and execute it across an academic year before submitting a final report to County Hall. The finalists were then invited to present to council members in the Council Chamber at County Hall in Preston; a nerve-racking experience for any student, but one which proved successful for the team members; James Hughes-Gooding, Isobel Ellis, Martha Barrett, William Golding, Charlotte Campbell and Philip Clews.

This year’s theme was safety and wellbeing and the School Council promoted the issue of Child Sexual Exploitation, creating resources that were initially created for use by pupils at the Billington-based school and that are now being used across Lancashire. Based on the theme “Be Aware, Stay Safe” the resources deal with healthy relationships and have been commended by Lancashire Police for use by teenagers and youth groups.

Headteacher, Mr Michael Wright, said: “This was the first time we have entered the Chairman’s Challenge and we faced strong competition from schools across Lancashire who had been involved in some excellent local projects.

“Our School Council members decided to address the thorny issue of child sexual exploitation, which has had a high profile in the news recently. They put an enormous amount of work into producing resources to inform young people about this sensitive topic. We were delighted to win the event and the School Council now have the task of deciding how best to use the prize money!”

An engraved shield and the prize money will be presented at St Augustine’s by County Coun. Margaret Brindle, current Chairman of Lancashire County Council.

Team members are pictured with chairman of Lancashire County Council Margaret Brindle and her consort William Brindle. (s)