Academy students united behind knife crime initiative

STUDENTS and staff of Oldham Academy North have come together to raise awareness around knife crime.

While knife crime is not an issue at Academy North, its keen to give students the opportunity to openly discuss what more needs to be done to tackle the problem.

The campaign is being run by deputy headteacher, Rob McGinty, in memory of his brother Colin fatally stabbed by two bouncers in Liverpool when he was just 21. The tragic case of mistaken identity took place in 2001.

To mark what would have been Colin’s 40th birthday, Rob and his family have planned a number of events to promote the #NoMoreKnives campaign.

The campaign will form part of a borough-wide initiative delivering information sessions to students across schools in Oldham including at partner school E-ACT Royton and Crompton Academy.

Earlier this month, Academy North held a #NoMoreKnives football tournament in partnership with Manchester United Foundation.

More than 100 boys and girls took part enabling a strengthening of community links and raising awareness of the campaign.

The college also hosted its first all-academy awareness day in support of the campaign.

Over the course of the day, each year group attended a session hosted by officers from the Royton, Shaw and Crompton Neighbourhood Policing Team, Oldham Council and national knife crime adviser Paul McGovern MBE.

Every lesson focused on knife crime awareness, giving students the chance to openly discuss and debate the issue.

Students had engaging discussions about what social media companies could do to try and help prevent knife crime and they also created some powerful graphics on the subject.

Oldham Athletic also invited students to Boundary Park to promote the campaign. #NoMoreKnives t-shirts were worn and a banner was displayed across one of the stadium’s stands.

Latics also invited youngsters to the recent League Two home game against Swindon Town.

The match day programme featured students’ work around the #NoMoreKnives campaign.

Players from both teams wore #NoMoreKnives t-shirts while warming up.

E-ACT, the trust that runs both Oldham Academy North and Royton and Crompton Academy, is training every teacher in mental health first aid so all students can be supported when they need it most – especially when a topic as harrowing as knife crime is being so openly being discussed.

Headteacher Chris Davis said: “Even at an Academy like ours, where knife crime simply isn’t an issue, we have taken a proactive approach to raising awareness of the dangers of knife crime by giving our students the platform to openly express their opinions and thoughts on the issue.

“We hope this awareness day gave our students the opportunity to express their views, especially in light of the number of incidents being reported in the media at the moment.”

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