Understanding children’s and teachers’ views of Speak out Stay safe

Topics: Schools

Initial evaluation of our schools programme

Through Speak out Stay safe our trained volunteers teach children how to recognise abuse and neglect in an age-appropriate way and empower them to speak out if they are worried about anything. The programme is available to all primary schools in the UK.

We wanted to find out more about:

  • the impact of Speak out Stay safe
  • the experiences and opinions of the children and adults who take part
  • whether we could make any improvements to Speak out Stay safe.

We’re evaluating Speak out Stay safe in two phases. This report shares findings from phase one - an initial, small scale evaluation of ten schools in England.

Author: Vicki Hollis
Published: 2018

Key finding

Children told us they knew more about bullying, abuse and neglect following Speak out Stay safe.

They also learnt more about who their trusted adults are; what Childline is; and the importance of speaking out if something is wrong.

Additional findings

Speak out Stay safe helped identify safeguarding concerns amongst the children who participated in this evaluation.

Some children made direct disclosures during a Speak out Stay safe session and some children displayed behaviour that led staff to identify safeguarding concerns. School staff also told us the programme helped to strengthen school safeguarding.

There is value in the NSPCC visiting schools to deliver the Speak out Stay safe messages to children.

School staff valued the independence and perceived expertise of the NSPCC and felt this helped to engage children with the core messages of Speak out Stay safe.

School staff can also learn from Speak out Stay safe.

School staff who were present during the sessions highlighted that Speak out Stay safe helped increase their understanding and awareness.

The content, pitch and delivery of the Speak out Stay safe assemblies and workshops were felt to be age-appropriate and engaging for children.

Feedback from school staff and children also helped us identify areas where we can develop the programme.

The format of Speak out Stay safe helps standardise delivery, but some variations were observed.

Variations can be related to the challenges of delivering the programme within a busy school environment and the need to meet demand from schools with a limited volunteer capacity.


“It’s a good way of learning like if you’ve been bullied before, you can say stop you’re bullying me. So you know what they’re doing to you 'cause you might not know.”

Child, year 3

“It's important that you know about it, even if you don’t need it in your lifetime, if you pass it on to your children and they just keep passing it on. At least then they'll be aware […] and they know there is someone to turn to.”

Child, year 6

“We do quite a lot on the bullying side […] and we’ll move on to online safety after […] Not so much about the abuse side. I think you’re the best people to do it and I think it’s good to do this as a one-off.”

Teacher, year 6

“I really feel that this workshop and assembly has really empowered them [the children] and I think they have a clearer understanding.”

Teacher, Designated Safeguarding Lead


Hollis, V. and Churchill, G. (2018) Understanding children’s and teachers’ views of the NSPCC’s Speak out Stay safe programme. London: NSPCC.