Educators at one of the UK’s largest groups of independent schools have been involved in a Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) training programme to safeguard students against the potential harms of gaming and gambling.
Cognita, which operates over 85 independent schools in 12 different countries, is working with the award-winning education charity, the Young Gamers & Gamblers Education Trust, to deliver training to teaching staff in several of their schools throughout the UK.
Through the Young People’s Gambling Harm Prevention Programme, the largest initiative of its kind, YGAM trained nearly 4,000 education professionals in 2021.
The topics of gaming and gambling now feature on the latest PSHE curriculum, and the charity has seen an increase in demand for their resources. The training equips teachers with the knowledge, skills and confidence to deliver gaming and gambling harm prevention sessions directly to students.
The topics of gaming and gambling now feature on the latest PSHE curriculum, and the charity has seen an increase in demand for their resources
YGAM education manager Sandy Thompson, who is delivering the charity’s evidence-based training to educators across the Cognita network, spoke about the increasing need for this training for anyone who has influence over children and young people.
Sandy Thompson said, “Training staff members at Cognita schools has been an absolute pleasure. It’s very clear that in addition to academic excellence, Cognita schools value upskilling their staff on developing issues affecting their students such as online safety, gaming and gambling harms.
“Research from Ipsos Mori indicates that 96% of 11–24-year-olds have been exposed to gambling marketing messages. With more and more children and young people accessing the internet through various online devices, the risks of encountering gambling-related mechanics in video games or elsewhere has increased substantially. At YGAM, we are pleased to be able to use our expertise to train anyone who works with children and young people across the UK.”
96% of 11–24-year-olds have been exposed to gambling marketing messages – Sandy Thomson, YGAM education manager
Ariana Oliver, assistant headteacher and PSHE lead at North Bridge House (NBH) Senior Hampstead (a Cognita school), spoke after attending YGAM’s training: “All teaching staff at NBH Senior Hampstead attended the Youth Gaming and Gambling Harm Prevention Training and the feedback from staff was extremely positive. It was easy to access and engaging, with plenty of opportunities to ask questions.
“The training is very relevant for the teenagers we teach in London, and I know that colleagues feel better informed and more confident about how to discuss these important issues with them now. We are looking forward to using a range of the resources shared with us in our weekly PSHE lessons.”
The YGAM education team is made up of former teachers, youth practitioners, and individuals with lived experience. Delegates who complete the training receive a formal City & Guilds certification on completion of the training. Delegates get access to a comprehensive bank of over 450 resources designed specifically to be used with young people from ages 7-25.
YGAM provides thematic plans and full Schemes of Work from Key Stage 2 through to Key Stage 5. In addition to these workshops for teachers, YGAM runs one-hour, free information sessions for parents and foster carers.
Online gaming and gambling exposure
Cognita’s regional safeguarding lead for Europe, Alison Barnett, added: “Growing up in a tech-savvy environment, we know that our young people are increasingly exposed to online gaming and gambling and how these activities have become normalised as part of their everyday culture.
“YGAM training workshops have really helped to support our safeguarding and teaching staff to understand the influence of advertising, the role of social media, alongside the signs to look for when an individual is at risk and where to get help.
“YGAM also offers excellent supporting teaching resources, including hands-on activities to support purposeful and guided conversations with young people. Their support in raising staff awareness and knowledge in this area of online safety has been invaluable, and I strongly recommend their workshops to other schools.”
The charity won the PSHE Education Award at the national Children & Young People Now Awards 2020 for the educational resources they provide to teachers and youth workers.
About Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM)
The Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) is a national charity with a social purpose to inform, educate, safeguard and build digital resilience among young and vulnerable people – helping them to make informed decisions and understand the consequences around gambling and gaming. You can find more information at ygam.org/about