Evaluating the NSPCC’s Speak out Stay safe programme

Publication date 2021

Speak out Stay safe (SOSS) is the NSPCC’s safeguarding programme for primary schools across the UK and Channel Islands. It aims to help children understand abuse in all its forms and ensure they know how to access support from a trusted adult or Childline, if they need it.

We commissioned an independent evaluation to examine the programme’s impact on children’s understanding of abuse and harm and their help-seeking behaviour.

The evaluation focused on 40 UK schools receiving the SOSS programme, comparing them with 34 UK schools that had not received SOSS in the last two years. It also captures the experiences of children, teachers, volunteers and staff participating in the programme, including how the programme’s safeguarding messages were perceived.

A total of four reports are available to download. These include a Welsh version, a summary and appendices.

Authors: Nicky Stanley, Christine Barter, Farwa Batool, Joanna Charles, John Devaney, Rhiannon Tudor Edwards, Nicola Farrelly, David Hayes, Denise Kasperkiewicz, Berni Kelly, Zain Kurdi, Annemarie Millar, Claire Monks, Ugur Ozdemir, Lorraine Radford, Trevor Thompson, Eira Winrow
Published: 2021

Download Evaluation of the NSPCC Speak out Stay safe programme: final report
Download final report (PDF)
Dadlwythwch Gwerthuso Rhaglen NSPCC Cofia Ddweud, Cadwa’n Ddiogel: Adroddiad Terfynol - fersiwn Gymraeg
Dadlwythwch y adroddiad (PDF)

Key findings

The research confirmed there is a need for SOSS

The majority of primary school children have a good understanding of what abusive behaviour looks like and which trusted adults they can speak to.

However, there are gaps in pupils’ knowledge, particularly around neglect and sexual abuse. Children’s knowledge of Childline and willingness to confide in a trusted adult also have scope to improve.

SOSS has multiple benefits for children

The SOSS programme was responsible for:

  • improving children’s understanding of the five different forms of abuse (ages 7-11)
  • helping children to identify at least one trusted adult they could speak to (ages 7-11)
  • increasing children’s recall of the Childline number (ages 5-11)
  • encouraging children who were initially the most reluctant to speak out, to feel they could confide in a trusted adult (ages 5-7).

However, the research also found that SOSS appeared to have a smaller impact on the help-seeking behaviours of pupils aged 5-7, compared to 7-to 11-year-olds.

Other findings

Children and school staff viewed SOSS as important and relevant

Children engaged well with the visual and interactive elements of the programme. Staff, pupils, and programme facilitators did however raise concerns about:

  • the age-appropriateness of aspects of SOSS
  • gaps in the content
  • and a lack of readiness by teachers in some schools to receive SOSS.

Further reports

> Download the appendices report (PDF)

> Download the summary report (PDF)

“I don’t even know what neglect was and I didn’t know it was a thing until they told me.”

Pupil aged 7-11
“Lots of teachers say it’s really good for someone else to come in and deliver messages. They’re important because the children hear us, the same voice all the time, and something like this that’s so important for the children to know… children are listening and take it all in and remember those messages.”

SOSS facilitator
“The presence of the presenter is quite theatrical and interactive, so the kids can participate, and it’s visual as well. So, I think that comes across really well.”

Headteacher
Download Evaluation of the NSPCC Speak out Stay safe programme: final report
Download the report (PDF)
Dadlwythwch Gwerthuso Rhaglen NSPCC Cofia Ddweud, Cadwa’n Ddiogel: Adroddiad Terfynol - fersiwn Gymraeg
Dadlwythwch y adroddiad (PDF)
Download Evaluation of the NSPCC Speak out Stay safe programme: summary
Download the report (PDF)
Download Evaluation of the NSPCC Speak out Stay safe programme: appendices
Download the report (PDF)

Citation

Please cite as:

Stanley, N. et al (2021) Evaluation of the NSPCC Speak out Stay safe programme: appendices. London: NSPCC.

Stanley, N. et al (2021) Evaluation of the NSPCC Speak out Stay safe programme: final report. London: NSPCC.

Stanley, N. et al (2021) Evaluation of the NSPCC Speak out Stay safe programme: summary. London: NSPCC.

Stanley, N. et al (2021) Gwerthuso Rhaglen NSPCC Cofia Ddweud, Cadwa’n Ddiogel: Adroddiad Terfynol - fersiwn Gymraeg. London: NSPCC.

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