The NSPCC’s Keeping Safe programme for schools, developed in Northern Ireland aims to support school staff and parents to deliver sensitive messages to children about recognising abusive behaviours and talking to a trusted adult.
This report evaluates the implementation of the programme in five schools for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and additional support needs between 2016 and 2018.
The report looks at:
Authors: Aisling McElearney, Louise Craig, Deirdre Fullerton, Sophie Morris and Christina Murphy
Adopting a whole-school approach that engaged children, staff and parents was found to have positive benefits. This included: creating a climate of listening and telling in the classroom; improving teacher confidence; and enhancing communication between parents and their children in relation to sensitive messages.
School-based programmes focusing on abuse and RSE benefit from strategic leadership and an appropriate allocation of resources to ensure effective implementation and programme sustainability. Programmes should include resources that schools can use to monitor and evaluate the implementation and outcomes.
Schools should ideally engage parents early on, from programme planning through to programme delivery. This engagement should seek to educate parents on the importance of teaching children about abuse, as well as informing them about the specific content of programmes so they can prepare and support their children. Teachers should have access to training and on-going support to help them teach sensitive messages.
Please cite as: McElearney, A., Craig, L., Fullerton, D., Morris, S. and Murphy C. (2021) Teaching children and young people in special schools to recognise abusive behaviours and tell: findings from the process evaluation of Keeping Safe, a whole-school education programme. London: NSPCC.
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