All posts tagged: interactive learning

‘Tune into Road Safety’ messages highlighted

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Visiting pupils from Cheltenham’s St James Primary School were today given valuable and practical road safety lessons as part of their SkillZONE tour to coincide with Road Safety Week.

SkillZONE is a state-of-the-art safety education centre where students can learn how to recognise dangerous situations in everyday life and how to stay safe.

During their visit the 90 pupils from Year 5 and Year 6 learned about the ‘Tune in to Road Safety’ theme for 2013 – that while it is human to daydream and get sidetracked, on the road distractions can be fatal.

Groups were taught about catching a bus or travelling in a car safely and to think about common distractions, such as listening to music or using a phone while walking and riding a bike. They also got to experience walking in near darkness and discovered how long it takes a car to stop after breaking suddenly.

Lottie Hutton, 10, from St James Primary School says “It was scary and unexpected finding out where the car went to after it brakes. I didn’t realise it would go so far.”

Andre Bovington from the Road Safety Partnership says; “Our main focus at this time of year is about walking in dim light on your way to school and to be aware of distractions. So our message to St James Primary pupils is to stay on the footpath and use safe crossings but to remember that drivers can’t always see you in poor light. If you’ve got an mp3 player or mobile phone, do not use them before crossing the road as they can be distracting.”

Road safety was only one of nine real life scenarios the Cheltenham school covered in its tour of SkillZONE’s life size village. They also got to experience danger in other situations such as in a: house, train, farm and internet cafe.

SkillZONE manager, Donna Potts says; “We are delighted that we can celebrate Road Safety Week together with the Road Safety Partnership in a realistic way that we know young people will remember. This is just one of the many ways we work with our partners to make the people of Gloucestershire safer.”

St James Primary School teacher Sarah Wakefield adds; “I thought the whole experience was really good, giving them the opportunity to do all these real situations and think for themselves.

“The videos were really powerful and a lot of every day hazards came out from the children that they had never questioned before.”

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Primary schools urged to visit SkillZONE

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SkillZONE, Gloucestershire’s state-of-the-art education centre, has published a new brochure which aims to encourage all primary schools in the county to visit.

The facility, which opened just over a year ago, teaches children, young people and the greater community to recognise dangerous situations in everyday life so they can stay safe.

SkillZONE is particularly popular with the Year 5 and Year 6 primary school groups and the interactive scenarios used in its life sized village have been designed to compliment PSHE delivery.

Gloucestershire’s Chief Fire Officer, Jon Hall says; “If you haven’t been before, it really is a fantastic and engaging learning environment which teaches valuable life skills.”

“We have had a brilliant response from schools who have visited so far (thank-you) but unfortunately there are others in the county who haven’t been or may not have heard of us. We want to spread the word about what a wonderful resource SkillZONE is to get all schools in Gloucestershire utilising it.”

Queen Margaret Primary School Teacher of Year 6, Daina Kelly, says; “It is a definite must to come again as I think all children would benefit from a visit.”

“The resources are so realistic that the children can realise themselves the situations and it is hard hitting enough for them to remember the lessons.”

The new brochure offers a snapshot of the important safety lessons offered at SkillZONE and the various scenarios including a house, shop, police cell, bus, train and internet cafe.

If you are interested in receiving a brochure please email To book SkillZONE or find out more visit or phone 01452 834150.

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Launch of Year 7 ‘safer choices’ tour

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SkillZONE has developed a new tour designed to teach Year 7 pupils to make safer choices on their school journey and in everyday life which will be launched on Monday, November 18th to coincide with national Road Safety Week.

SkillZONE is a state-of-the-art safety education centre where students make decisions about staying safe. The centre allows classes to experience a range of real scenarios in its life size village such as in a; car, bus, house, shop, alleyway and internet cafe.

The package is aimed at Year 7 pupils as for many this year marks the beginning of their solo journeys to school, whether that is catching a bus, cycling or walking. Its other objective is to enhance students knowledge of Year 7 citizenship curriculum topics such as understanding how laws are made and money is managed.

Part of the 2 hour tour will cover the ‘Tune in to Road Safety’ national theme for 2013 so that groups will learn that while daydreaming and get sidetracked is human nature, on the road distractions can be fatal. As part of this pupils will be taught about catching a bus or travelling in a car safely and will be asked to think about common distractions, such as listening to music or using a phone while on their school journey.

The topics included from the Year 7 citizenship programme include;

  • developing an understanding of the role of the law and justice system – using SkillZONE’s own Police Station and Court Room
  • learning about managing money on a day to day basis with practical experience in SkillZONE’s shop and;
  •  discussions about the roles played by public institutions and voluntary groups in society.

Any teaching staff of Year 7 pupils, whether curriculum Leads, PSHE coordinators or teachers, are invited to a free prepratory tour of SkillZONE during Road Safety Week (November 18th – 21st) on Monday, Tuesday or Thursday morning.

The 2 hour tour costs £5 per pupils if coming with a school group and a total of nine scenarios will be on offer. To book or find out more information visit  or phone 01452 834 150.

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Gloucestershire South and SkillZONE Open Day

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Vintage fire engines will stand side by side with modern appliances for an open day at Gloucester South Community Fire Station and SkillZONE on Saturday 14th September from 10am to 4pm.

Local people will be able to learn more about the job done by today’s fire and rescue crews with a smoke house and fire fighter demonstrations on the day.

Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service’s own hovercraft, which is designed to deal with large-scale water-incidents, such as the 2007 floods will be on display, alongside vehicles including special rescue and aerial appliances.

For children there will be a bouncy castle, go-karts, City Farm and live music. Refreshments will also be available to buy.

For a suggested donation of £1 (under 5s free), visitors can book a tour of the SkillZONE village and find out how this exciting new venue is helping to create safer, healthier communities. Numbers are restricted so booking is essential – you need to book in person at the SkillZONE desk on arrival.

Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for communities, said: “The fire service has changed significantly over the years, but its role remains the same – that of protecting residents and saving lives. This is a great chance to learn more about fire safety and to have some fun at the same time.”

Gloucester South and SkillZONE are based at Tuffley Lane, Gloucester, GL4 0AS.

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Road safety sessions are a class act

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Children from Cooper’s Edge Primary School were given a lesson in how to be street smart at Gloucestershire’s SkillZONE, as part of National Road Safety Week.

The Brockworth school was invited to attend a unique session at the interactive centre for community safety by Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership, with a focus on the risks associated with crossing the road, using public transport and avoiding distractions in a busy town centre. 

SkillZONE proved to be the perfect place to teach vital road safety messages, using its state-of-the-art village setting to make the children aware of the greatest risks to their age group. The youngsters were then asked questions about the safety advice they were given.

Sian Hamlett, Year 6 teacher at Cooper’s Edge Primary, said: “Road safety is something that children need to be made aware of from an early age and the scenarios at SkillZONE really bring home the risks if youngsters aren’t aware of their surroundings. 

“Our classes had a great time taking part in the challenges. It’s so much more memorable if the children can see examples of the dangers at first hand, but in a safe environment such as this.” 

Police casualty data from 2007-2011 shows that a quarter of all pedestrians injured on the county’s roads were aged between 10 and 19 years old.

More than 90% of the casualties took place in an urban setting and more than 80% occurred during daylight hours.

Andre Bovington, Road Safety Team Leader at Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership, said: “SkillZONE has already proved to be a fantastic talking point for schools and groups in the county because it is such a unique way of teaching children these very important safety messages.

“It is great fun, but all the lessons learned relate to real-life situations that many young people find themselves in.”

Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member for community safety said: “Road Safety Week highlights the many organisations and agencies that are working together to keep local residents safe and we pride ourselves on our safety record in this county. However, one casualty on the road is one too many and so sessions such as these are vital.”

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Get a sneak peak at the new SkillZONE

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The countdown is on to the opening of SkillZONE, Gloucestershire’s first interactive educational centre which teaches people to stay safe. And you can get an exclusive look at a public open day on 8th September 2012.

SkillZONE is a new state of the art life size village based in Tuffley, Gloucester, and it officially opens to visitors on 17th September 2012.

Before then, families have the chance to take an exclusive look at the centre during a public open day on Saturday 8th September between 10am and 4pm.

Admission costs £1 a head, with under 5’s going free.

SkillZONE is an interactive learning environment designed to teach people of all ages how to recognise dangerous situations and stay safe.

The 16 zones in SkillZONE cover a range of scenarios including road, rail and water safety, as well as opportunities to cover home and personal safety.

It will be staffed by existing fire service staff and volunteer guides to guide groups around the scenarios, encouraging visitors to identify dangers and actions to reduce risk.

Tim Lanfear, Station Commander for Skills for Life said: “SkillZONE will soon be used to teach school children and other groups about how to keep safe.

“Before then we wanted to give families the opportunity to take a look at the great facilities we have here, from magistrate court rooms to prison cells, and from beaches and parks to railway stations.”

Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for communities, said: “The new SkillZONE will help us to promote community safety and reduce serious injuries and deaths in homes, at work and in local areas.

“The open day is a brilliant opportunity to take a look at the centre and have a fun day out with the family whilst learning more about keeping safe in a fun and informative way.”

Families visiting SkillZONE will be able to take a look at the adjoining new Gloucester South fire station, which is holding a station open day on the same day.

This is the fourth of the new community fire stations which are now all open.

Bookings are now being taken for groups and organisations like schools, to visit SkilLZONE to learn more about the importance of staying safe. To book a space visit

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Official opening of skillZONE and Gloucester South Station

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Gloucestershire’s state-of-the-art SkillZONE centre and Gloucester South Community Fire Station will be officially opened on 1st February.

Since it was launched in September last year, SkillZONE has had nothing but praise from schools and community groups, delighted by the facility’s mix of engaging practical scenarios and important safety messages.

Meanwhile, as one of Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s four new community fire stations, Gloucester South has already proven to be a huge asset, helping fire crews to meet their eight-minute response time and boosting their ability to protect county residents.

The official launch of both premises will give guests the opportunity to see how a modern fire and rescue service operates, with a chance to meet crews, staff and volunteers who drive community safety in Gloucestershire.

They will be opened by Chairman of Gloucestershire County Council, Tony Hicks, and children from the community. Gloucestershire’s Chief Fire Officer Jon Hall and Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council will also attend.

Guests will be given a tour of SkillZONE by local theatre company Grace Productions, which will stage a live performance to highlight safety messages taught at the centre, with the involvement of children from Dean Academy and Newent School, and students from Gloscol.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Geoff Sallis said: “We are rightly proud of all our new community stations, which are well-placed to deal with emergencies anywhere in the county and which give our crews the chance to do their jobs to the best of their ability.

“But prevention is just as important as our emergency response, and SkillZONE is a perfect way of promoting all our safety messages and life skills training to some of the most vulnerable people in the community.”

Cllr Will-Windsor-Clive, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “In Gloucestershire, we have always been fortunate enough to have a professional and dedicated Fire and Rescue Service.

“These two new buildings are an excellent addition to the tools at its disposal – and show just how forward-thinking and adaptable the service has become.”

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