Loudmouth’s Knife Crime / Youth Violence Assemblies : Evaluation and Success
Earlier this year we launched a new short assembly presentation on knife crime.
The session drew on research we were doing on county lines and was due to become part of an update for our secondary aged child exploitation programme. However as incidents of knife crime began to rise so did the requests for help from schools on the issue.
We created a 30 minute drama presentation and interactive workshop that could be adapted for both primary and secondary schools. The drama follows the story of Mikey, now in his mid-twenties as he looks back at how he became drawn into knife crime in his early teens. This was first offered to schools in May 2019 and in the 10 weeks or so that followed we delivered 33 assemblies reaching over 5,000 pupils. These 33 sessions included 5 assemblies as part of a secondary school tour in Solihull. We now have funding for this Solihull tour and a new primary school tour in Coventry both funded by Active Citizens funding.
Matthew Farmer, Loudmouth’s Actor/Facilitator Manager who ran all of the assemblies has been struck by the response from pupils, “The research that went into the drama really paid off as audiences have been so captivated and drawn into the story. The audiences are animated as they hear how Mikey was introduced into a world that initially seemed with parties, drugs, gangs and knives. Then as the ‘curtains are pulled back’ to reveal the grooming and exploitation the audience fall silent, as they understand the manipulation and the reality of the situation.”
As with all of Loudmouth’s work, the drama is just the beginning. This is followed by an interactive workshop where the audience learn key terms and facts and have the opportunity to talk to the character from the drama and learn where to go to for support. Matthew Farmer found the sections where the audience speak to Mikey to be the most impactful part of these sessions, adding “This section allows us to unpick the drama in more detail but also push key messages such as the long term impacts of grooming and exploitation and the fact that most young people do not carry a knife.”
The sessions were evaluated with 89% of evaluations stating that the assembly had increased their awareness of knife crime. By the end of the session 97% of the pupils agreed with the statement that it is normal NOT to carry a knife and 95% would recommend the assembly for other students.
One Year 7 student commented that ”It showed me how easy it is to get dragged into knife crime and that you should trust your body feeling and make sure you know what you're getting yourself into.” Whilst many pupils said that they never carried knives over half said that the session would change how they would act in future, with one pupil adding “as a result of seeing the assembly I know not to carry a knife and the consequences”.
The sessions also helped to educate staff in the schools. Matthew Farmer adds that “Something which maybe I did not expect was the impact the assemblies had on the staff in schools. Many staff said that they did not previously know about ‘County Lines’ and that the session gave them the confidence to carry on the teaching once we had left.”
If you would like to know more about how you could book Loudmouth as well as finding out about funding opportunities, ring us on 0121 446 4880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org