Process evaluation of Keeping Safe: views and experiences of children, parents and schools

Publication date 2021

The NSPCC’s Keeping Safe programme for primary schools, developed in Northern Ireland, aims to support schools and parents to deliver sensitive messages to children about recognising abusive behaviours.

We conducted a process evaluation with mainstream and special schools between 2016 and 2018 and explored the experiences of children, parents and school staff taking part in the programme.

Download Keeping Safe process evaluation: children's views
Download the report (PDF)
Download Keeping Safe process evaluation: school staff, parents and carers' views
Download the report (PDF)

 

Methodology

We worked with 226 children aged between 4-13, using creative art-based approaches to:

  • identify what children could recall and learned from the programme
  • document and describe children’s response to the programme
  • find out children’s wishes and recommendations for the programme.

We used a range of qualitative and quantitative methods and engaged 161 adults, including parents, carers, classroom teachers, principals, school governors and other school staff to:

  • describe schools’ experiences of implementing the programme
  • identify key enablers and challenges to implementation
  • identify programme strengths and weaknesses and explore perceived outcomes.

Key findings

Young children respond positively to being taught about abuse and learn key concepts when messaging is appropriate for their age and stage of development.

Children from as young as four years, and children and young people with special educational needs, learned key programme concepts when taught using a range of engaging visual and interactive resources, stories and activities.

Strong leadership across the whole school was identified as the key enabler to successful implementation of the Keeping Safe programme.

When introducing a whole-school programme that teaches children about abuse, it is recommended that strong leadership support is secured. This support can help to ensure the programme is built into school development planning and that resources are protected for staff training.

Related reports

> Read the Keeping Safe cluster randomised trial evaluation

> Learn about our findings from implementing the Keeping Safe programme in special schools

“I like remembering all about our underpants rule and the people that we met and our private parts, and our emotions. I remember we learned about our smart bodies and our bodies can tell us how we’re feeling.”

Primary 4 child, Special school
“I’d be more likely to talk, and be comfortable knowing that it’s going on in school, [that] the school is doing the groundwork with them, and, whatever questions, you’d try and answer the questions they had.”

Parent/carer, Catholic Maintained school
Download Keeping Safe process evaluation: children's views
Download the report (PDF)
Download Keeping Safe process evaluation: school staff, parents and carers' views
Download the report (PDF)

 

Citation

Please cite as:

McElearney, A., Murphy, C., Craig, L., Palmer, L., Monaghan, M., Cunningham, C. (2021) Children’s views on being taught about abuse through the Keeping Safe education programme: lessons from the process evaluation for teachers and policymakers. London: NSPCC.

McElearney, A., Murphy, C., Fullerton, D., Hyde-Dryden, G., Cosette, A., Morris, S. (2021) School staff, parents' and carers' views and experience of the Keeping Safe whole-school education programme: lessons from the process evaluation for teaching children to recognise abusive behaviours and tell. London: NSPCC.