Withernsea High School

Withernsea High School

Inspiring confident young people to thrive in a changing world


  1. News
  2. January 2024
  3. Year 9 students learn the importance of making the right choices

Year 9 students learn the importance of making the right choices

23 January 2024 (by admin)

Making the right choices, to protect themselves and others, was the hot topic of conversation for students at Withernsea High School recently thanks to the work of Prison! Me! No-way! (PMNW).

PMNW is a nationally registered charity whose aim is to raise awareness amongst young people about the causes, consequences and impacts of crime.

Working with 160 Year 9 students, representatives from the charity led a full day of interactive workshops that explored a range of relevant topics and issues ranging from knife crime to county lines drug trafficking. Other sessions included ‘choices’, which explored the impact of domestic abuse, and ‘one punch’ – a session which focussed on the devastating impact that a single, split-second wrong decision can have on the lives of both the perpetrators and the victims of crime.

One of the starkest visuals of the day came during a session on ‘prison life’ thanks to the presence of a mobile cell, housed in a specially converted van, which offered small groups an opportunity to step inside a life-size cell. The cramped conditions, uncomfortable beds, and close-proximity of a basic toilet to the area in which people are expected to eat and sleep, really hit home – dispelling any myths that prison is an easy or comfortable experience.

Following their successful introduction to last year’s programme of workshops, this year saw the welcome return of Prison Service search dogs to the day’s event. As valuable assets within the Prison Service, these highly skilled and well-trained animals provide enhanced searching capabilities to sniff-out illegal substances.

Student volunteers were given the opportunity to take part in a mock search scenario while the dog completed a standard search procedure. To show the outcome of a positive result, a further volunteer was subsequently chosen to carry the scent of something detectable by the dog. This demonstrated the dog’s response of stopping and sitting down to indicate that something had been found.    

Throughout the day’s workshops and activities, the message was clear: every young person should have the knowledge and confidence to take control; to stay safe and realise their full potential by making positive choices that avoid them becoming involved in crime.

Year 9 student, Lukas Palmer, said: “Hearing the life story of an ex-prisoner and how he ended up in prison was an interesting experience, and seeing how small the average prison cell is was quite shocking as the beds looked really uncomfortable. I was really impressed with the sniffer dog and its unique abilities to detect substances. It was a really good day; I learnt so much.”

Follow student, Sophie Rodgers, added: “I enjoyed Prison! Me! No-way! because we learnt from real life stories. Hearing what real people have been through, and learning the officers’ point of view when they have to deal with the prisoners, was really interesting and it really made me think.”

Harriet Ainley, co-organiser of the charity’s visit to Withernsea High School, added: “I would like to thank the Prison! Me! No-Way! team for yet another successful visit to the school. Our students responded in a really positive way to the hard-hitting stories and life-lessons that were shared on the day by taking a genuine interest in the causes and consequences of crime.

With six different workshops on rotation, covering a range of contemporary issues, there was a lot for the students to take in. They handled all sessions with great maturity and will hopefully use them as a platform for reflection to ensure they remain positive members of the community.”

Set-up as the Prison! Me! No Way! (PMNW) Project by three Prison Officers from HMP Hull in 1993, PMNW has operated as a registered charity; The No Way Trust Ltd, since 1995. During this time, it has worked face-to-face with over 1.3 million children and young people nationwide.

The No Way Trust provides real-life learning experiences for children and young people between the ages of 8 and 18, collectively helping young people and their communities to reduce crime, reoffending and anti-social behaviour and contribute towards creating safer communities for all.

The trust wants young people to think carefully about the decisions they make throughout their lives, stay safe, positively manage the temptations of modern society, and the increasing risks posed through social media, to develop into law-abiding citizens.

Neil McCunnell, Crime Day Co-ordinator, said: “It is always fantastic to return to Withernsea High School. The students were superb throughout the day and were a total credit to both themselves and to the school. The event always comes well-organised and the school’s learning centre provides a fantastic environment for us to come and deliver our sessions. The students are very consistent and are keen to learn.

“PMNW provides real-life learning experiences for young people, to help reduce risky behaviour and prevent them becoming involved in crime. We want young people to think carefully about the decisions they make throughout their lives, to stay safe and continue their development into law-abiding citizens and achieve their full potential.”



ABOVE: This year’s Prison! Me! No-way! session saw the welcome return of a Prison Service dog which was used to demonstrate the sniffing out of illegal substances. A dummy substance was placed in a carousel of containers for the dog to find. In other demonstrations, student volunteers were recruited to be searched. 

ABOVE: Students were surprised by the size of the visiting prison cell. The photos show the cramped conditions inside, as the students get a feel for the limited space available.

Share this:

Back to the Top