The Safer Slough Partnership (SSP) has launched an interactive programme across primary schools in Slough aimed at raising awareness of child exploitation.

The launch coincides with National Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Day on 18 March which aims to highlight the issues surrounding exploitation and encourages pupils to make the right choices if they were to encounter problems.

Named ‘The Choices Programme’ the software was development by engagement agency Lime. The software helps young people understand who they are and the process of how they make their choices.

The software uses interactive stories and characters who may be like the children and facing similar challenges in their lives. They then look at what influences choices and how they make decisions and what the potential implications could be.

To date, 20 primary schools in Slough are using the Choices Programme in lessons with pupils in years 5 and 6. The programme is also being developed for year 7 and 8 pupils and will be rolled out from the summer term.

Superintendent Sarah Grahame, joint chair of The Safer Slough Partnership, said: “The Safer Slough Partnership have been incredibly forward thinking in funding the Choices programme, to support children to make good choices throughout childhood. 

“The project intends to prevent crime and children coming to harm, supporting the Slough approach of prevention, to ensure our communities are safe.  I am delighted to be involved in the project and look forward to seeing the impact of a Slough wide roll out of the scheme.”

Roseanna Orsi, assistant headteacher of Wexham Court Primary School, said: “The Choices Programme is unique in its content and delivery. It really enhances children’s awareness of their own identity and the identity of others, providing them with the ability to self-regulate and reflect upon their emotions and experiences.

“It also provides a platform for children to challenge, debate and discuss lots of topical issues that will prepare them so effectively for their lives. We believe that this programme is addressing the needs of today and we are proud to be delivering this at Wexham Court Primary School.”

Mark Ashfield, founder Lime, said: “Our research shows that children and young people are more open to influence than ever before, particularly in an increasingly digital world.

“We have to take steps to help them understand the many opportunities and advantages this brings whilst also being aware of the risks.