Weapons awareness

Experienced members of the museum’s education team, trained to deliver weapons awareness workshops, talk to groups about the dangers of carrying weapons. They are licensed to run these workshops as part of the ‘Be Safe’ initiative, a Home Office backed project delivered nationally across the UK.

Workshop details

Many young people believe that they have an effective form of self-defence by arming themselves; this workshop aims to dispel the myth.

During the session discussion is encouraged under conditions of confidentiality. The young people are given clear guidance as to what to expect, and are advised on expectations of their behaviour throughout the session.

The session is based on looking at images of people which show the consequences of knife or gun use. (Participants may choose whether or not to look at the images) They are asked to respect each other by being sensitive to other participants’ reactions, and to respect the people in the images and their families by handling the images thoughtfully. The session is emotive and our staff have the training, expertise and sensitivity to guide the participants through the experience in a safe and nurturing manner. To ensure a more engaging session, participants experience a mix of lighter activities alongside the more sensitive moments.

We also explore topics such as self-defence, revenge and risk management and finish by giving the young people a clear summary of the law concerning offensive weapons, covering the Offnesive Weapons Act and the law of 'Joint Enterprise'. Our aims are to keep people safe from physical and emotional damage, and encourage young people not to break the law. We also hope to contribute to a safer community with well informed young people making safer choices.

Our unique relationship with the UK Border Force ensures that we are always up to date with current trends in weapons being smuggled into the United Kingdom.

Curriculum links

Key stage 3/4 Citizenship

In particular, citizenship education should foster pupils’ keen awareness and understanding of democracy, government and how laws are made and upheld. Teaching should equip pupils with the skills and knowledge to explore political and social issues critically, to weigh evidence, debate and make reasoned arguments.
It should also prepare pupils to take their place in society as responsible citizens…

  • Pupils should use and apply their knowledge and understanding whilst developing skills to research and interrogate evidence, debate and evaluate viewpoints, present reasoned arguments and take informed action.
  • Pupils should be taught about the nature of rules and laws and the justice system, including the role of the police and the operation of courts and tribunals
  • Pupils should be taught about the roles played by public institutions and voluntary groups in society, and the ways in which citizens work together to improve their communities, including opportunities to participate in school-based activities

Spoken English

Pupils should be taught to:

  • speak confidently and effectively, including through:
  • using Standard English confidently in a range of formal and informal contexts, including classroom discussion
  • expressing their own ideas and keeping to the point
  • participating in formal debates and structured discussions, summarising and/or building on what has been said

Weapons awareness links to PSHE with its focus on making healthy choices, keeping safe, being a responsible citizen challenging risky behaviour and providing an opportunity for informed debate. Following the changes to the curriculum the teaching of PSHE is still encouraged but with no statutory guidelines.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

Pupils will:

  • Identify characteristics of good health and how to stay physically, emotionally and mentally healthy.
  • Make informed choices about their health and well-being and explain reasons for their choices.
  • Demonstrate effective ways of resisting negative pressure, including peer pressure.
  • Describe the positive and negative impacts of risk-taking on their health and well-being.
  • Assess and manage risks associated with personal lifestyle choices and situation.  


Pupils will:

  • Improve their speaking and listening skills in a group discussion context.
  • Learn to question and discuss issues that may affect their own lives, or those of the wider society.
  • Develop their confidence and ability to make safer choices in terms of their health.
  • Give reasoned answers backed up by evidence.


Pupils will:

  • Be introduced to the role the UK Border Force and how it protects our society.
  • Be introduced to the work of the education team and the value of a visit to a museum.
  • Learn about the techniques used by smugglers to get weapons into the country and the ways the UKBF try to prevent this.


Pupils will:

  • See the museum as a fun and interesting way to learn more about the past and the present.
  • Realise the influence that the media and government has over the choices we make.
  • Be inspired to have the confidence to make the right choices for themselves backed up by factual information and expertise.
  • Be able to respect the opinions and feelings of others.