Pupils have been given advice on protecting themselves as part of an anti-bullying campaign from a Teesside business manager.
Craig Moat, a Health, Safety, Quality and Environment manager at Falck Safety Services UK, attended Prior’s Mill Primary School in Billingham in association with his martial arts club, Zi Shiying Tang Soo Do.
He explained the importance of self-awareness and self-defence in confrontational situations, including stranger danger sessions.
Mr Moat, chief instructor 4th Dan of Zi Shiying Tang Soo Do (TSD), started up the not-for-profit martial arts club, which teaches a range of age groups spanning from six years and above, in 2014.
The club aims to raise funds for the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA), a coalition of organisations and individuals working to stop bullying in schools.
He said: “It has been a pleasure speaking to the kids at Prior’s Mill to find out how much they actually know about bullying, and if they know how to try and prevent it or defend themselves in tricky situations.
“It’s astonishing to learn than 43% of children in the UK have been affected by bullying, with 44% being bullied at least once a week.
“These figures highlight just how active it is in schools at the moment.
“I’ve been approached by a number of schools now in the area to help raise awareness of the issue, and it is often year’s five, six and seven I work with to help equip them for senior school.”
Prior’s Mill Primary School head teacher, Gill Wild, said: “Children were thoroughly engaged and responded well to the input over the course of the day, particularly the workshop on martial arts.”
Mr Moat, who dedicates his spare time to delivering campaigns to lower school students, aims to increase awareness of the anti-bullying campaign, promoting it schools throughout Teesside and other parts of the UK.
Having practiced TSD for 25 years, he is passionate about passing on advice and techniques to his students, helping to increase their confidence and equipping them with the life skill of self-defence.
Mr Moat added: “I’ve been given great moral support from my employer, Falck, Neil Russel and Jade Mulhearn from Stockton Borough Council, as well as backing from Stockton MP Alex Cunningham to help make a difference in the local community.
“Falck is a great believer in corporate social responsibility and grants time for me to help out at the schools when required.
“Going forward, I would like to promote the campaign further afield, with the end goal of having anti-bullying and self-defence classes forming part of the national curriculum in schools.”
Coun Cunningham added: “There is no doubt that bullying can be a real issue in some schools and often never comes to light as victims fear making a fuss.
“To give young people confidence through self-defence training can be a major benefit to them as they learn to deal with potential trouble in a clear, planned way.
“The work done by Craig and his team in the community - and backed by his employer, Falck - is helping to equip hundreds of young people with these important skills and I’m pleased to add my support.”
Mr Wild added: “At Prior’s Mill CE Primary School, we welcomed Craig Moat from Falck Safety Services into school as part of our Safety Week.
“He worked closely with our Upper School pupils around the theme of ‘Keeping Ourselves Safe’.
“As we are a Church of England School, built on Christian values and working towards becoming a Rights Respecting school, this was a valuable link with our school ethos.”
Zi Shiying Tang Soo Do won the Outstanding Achievement Award at last year’s Stockton Borough Council Club, coach and volunteer Awards, and has received the runner up this year for the Club of the Year Award. For more information on TSD classes and self-defence tactics, visit www.tangsoo.org.uk