STUDENTS at a Newton Abbot school have been involved in a scheme to make their surroundings safer and more inclusive. 

The Year 9 students, known as Diversity Ambassadors, from Coombeshead Academy, have been actively supporting a research project aimed at improving diversity for young people. 

The students’ views have been relayed to Teignbridge Council as well as local policing teams.  

Year 9 students initially shared some of their concerns about the perceptions, or misconceptions and stereotypes, of young people in the community. 

At times, they said their experiences with police had been ‘quite negative’. 

One student said: ‘We feel like they can’t go to the police for help.’

Another commented: ‘Sometimes officers try to build rapport and sometimes they don’t.’

There was a suggestion their experiences were ‘inconsistent’.

The students came up with ‘mind maps’ of what they felt police training should look like.

The students have had a chance to discuss their views and ideas directly with police representatives. 

Next month, another session is being organised which will give students a chance to get involved in how police officers are trained. 

A spokesman said: ‘This group of students work well together and they are passionate about the positive impact that their contributions can have in our local community, by helping to make it a safer and more inclusive space for young people.’

All students who took part were awarded a certificate by Becca Hewitt, community safety and safeguarding manager for Teignbridge District Council to thank them for their insightful contributions.

Helen Coulson, headteacher at Coombeshead Academy said: ‘I am so proud of our Diversity Ambassadors and the brilliant work they do to support our school and the local community.  

‘It was brilliant to hear some of their ideas about how to make the local area safer and a big thank you to Becca for coming along to present their certificates.’

Matthew Shanks, CEO of Education South West said:

‘Everyone at the trust was so pleased to hear about the Diversity Ambassadors work with the local policing team. 

‘We believe our schools should be at the heart of their local communities and it’s great to see this in action at Coombeshead.’