Pupils learn how to stay safe surfing the net

Surfing safely on the internet has been given a new twist to pupils at Lichfield’s Maple Hayes Dyslexia School who have been treated to a special theatre performance so they can spot the dangers of strangers on the net.

Bright pupils at the Abnall’s Lane school were visited by Saltmine Theatre Company earlier this month (March) and enjoyed a performance of ESCape - an internet safety play.

The 45 minute play follows 11-year-old Sarah Thompson who lives on the edge of an enchanted forest, which she is allowed to enter for the first time on her own.  She starts her adventure with the three rules from her mother that will keep her safe echoing in her ears - including not to give a stranger her full name, not to give out her address, not to go off the path, and also to call for help from an adult if she is scared. However when she meets a stranger, all is not what it seems and she struggles to keep to the rules.

Using a combination of theatre, allegory and an interactive workshop the play taught pupils the rules of the internet in a fun and accessible way, and covered topics including cyber bullying to the dangers of talking to strangers on the internet.

Dr Daryl Brown, headteacher at the Abnalls Lane school, said: “The children really enjoyed the performance and learnt a lot about being safer on the internet. It can be sometimes a challenge to show children about stranger danger in a modern age, but this was the perfect way to introduce our pupils to the rules of the internet and what to look out for. It was really good that quite a few of our parents also came into school to view the drama.”

Christian Carr, aged nine, said: “It was a really good play and we enjoyed having them here for the day.”

Zack Gambrell, aged 11, added: “It was fun to watch and was a good way to learn how we can be safer on the internet and in life.”

The school, which has a roll of 120 students aged between seven and 17-years-old, was founded in 1982 by Dr Neville Brown, the school Principal.