Public Sector: Arson campaign targets schools

The Chief Fire Officers' Association (CFOA) and the Government have teamed up with insurer Zurich Municipal to educate children about the horrors of arson amid a rising number of attacks on schools.

A campaign, called 'Arson Combated Together', has been piloted in Scotland and Nottingham, where it proved successful, prompting the national rollout of the scheme scheduled for May, said Zurich PR consultant Helen Ladd.

In 2002 there were 27 large fires in schools, each causing more than £100,000 of damage; in 2003 there were 42 school fires, with more than 70 per cent started deliberately, according to Ladd.

The campaign features a theatre education programme for schools, toolkits for teachers to cover arson in citizenship lessons, and packs for local fire brigades - which include guidance notes on how to work with local theatre groups, drama scripts, a CD-Rom with information and visuals, and example press releases.

'The fire services have great contacts in local communities and are looking for education resources,' said Ladd.

'In addition, subjects for citizenship lessons are in short supply so we have developed a project with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and teachers,' she added.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of arson, particularly in schools, and its emotional, financial and social consequences.

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