Development of StayWise in Bedfordshire

an image of a firefighter with a child squirting a hose.

In 2021, one of our watches in Bedfordshire worked tirelessly to attempt to continue with Year Two visits through the difficulties of the pandemic. Their work was highlighted and the question was asked: ‘can we take this model and roll it out across the county?’. There had been previous questions raised about our Year Two visits, the lack of standardisation and support for them and some older resources being the only ones available.

It was decided that we would use their model and hard work to overhaul the Year Two visit process, creating a standard offer across Bedfordshire and hopefully improve training for crews to ensure best practice in delivery.

We decided at that point to make use of the StayWise resources available, integrating some of these into the session planning to modernise the visit delivery and content. We created a ‘new’ Year Two session, incorporating The Birthday Cake Mistake story and some of the favourite aspects of the historical visits like the appliance tour and PPE ‘show and tell’. We used the ISO9001 formatting for the session planning, along with a one-page ‘prompt sheet’ that would serve as an easy guide for delivery. We decided to create proforma emails for administration, that would be sent out with pre-session information, including some pre-learning prior to every session being undertaken. This pre-learning included a video version of The Birthday Cake Mistake read by one of our firefighters, which is now also available on StayWise. The pre-session material is also linked to StayWise, allowing class teachers to differentiate learning and ensure accessibility to some baseline knowledge and fire safety awareness prior to the visit.

During the session, the structured proforma allowed standardisation across all sessions delivered in Bedfordshire, and some guidance about content, session timings and important messaging. It allows for individual style whilst ensuring that the important fire safety detail is covered. We know this is working as our evaluation feedback so far demonstrates that our top three ‘things you feel you learnt during the visit’ are: never play with matches/lighters, smoke alarms and get out, stay out, and call 999.

Following the visit, another email signposts the teaching staff to complete an evaluation and once more to available follow-up resources on StayWise to continue the learning provided by the firefighter's visit.

StayWise as a platform reduced workload for us when creating this Year Two ‘bundle’ and allowed us to use curriculum-linked resources that teaching staff have commended during the visit.

We have had some fantastic feedback from schools following these newly formatted sessions, where they are happy with the delivery, confidence of the crews and messaging for the pupils.