SAFETY first was the message when youngsters made waves at a South Tyneside marine centre.
Year 1 pupils from Ridgeway Primary School, South Shields, which became an academy about 18 months ago, visited the Marine Safety Training Centre (MSTC), to learn about water safety from expert offshore trainers.
The children watched as instructors at the borough centre, which is part of South Tyneside College, staged a reconstruction of a rescue and gave tips on how to keep out of danger.
Youngsters enjoyed the half-day trip to the centre, in Wapping Street, South Shields, arranged by the college, which is also Ridgeway’s academy sponsor.
Leaders at the 215-pupil school say the safety visit, plus another project where children recreated part of the Amazon in the classroom, reflected the extra curriculum variations which are possible as an academy.
Headteacher Michael McCarthy said: “Being an academy gives us great scope to offer wide and varied lessons and to provide education which is very specific to the needs of our pupils.
“We don’t have to stick as rigidly as other schools to the national curriculum, which allows our teaching staff to focus closely and clearly on what we feel our pupils need, and what is important to them.
“Our links to the college mean the children have been given this great opportunity to learn about water safety, which could prove invaluable.
“Even projects like the classroom Amazon scene have come about because we are able to innovate in a way that other schools can’t.”
College chief executive Lindsey Whiterod, said: “Being an academy has created many opportunities for the pupils of Ridgeway, and that has proved great for their education.
“Their visit to the marine centre to learn about how to stay safe around water is just one of the benefits of the partnership.
“It is a very good example of what can be achieved when a school gets an extra level of support from an education specialist like South Tyneside College.”