This programme is being evaluated using a randomised control trial (RCT) to gather robust evidence about programme effectiveness.
The evidence will inform the Department of Education policy as well as the development and roll out of an effective preventative education programme in the future so that all children in Northern Ireland will eventually benefit from this work.
What does the evaluation involve?
The RCT design means that schools have been randomly assigned to two groups. The first group introduced and taught the programme between 2016 and 2018. The second group will teach the programme between 2018 and 2020. Both groups will take part in the evaluation.
Teachers and parents will be asked for their consent to take part in the evaluation. We will ask for parental consent for children to take part in the evaluation, and for children to provide consent for their own involvement. We will also teach children how to tell us if they have changed their mind and want to withdraw from the evaluation.
Evaluation data has been collected on three occasions between 2016 and 2018:
- before the programme is introduced in schools
- at the end of the first year in May 2017
- at the end of the second year in May 2018.
This included a questionnaire for children to measure any change in their knowledge, understanding and skills to keep safe from abuse, as well as a questionnaire for teachers and parents to assess their confidence in communicating sensitive messages to children.
Some children, parents and teachers have also been involved in focus groups and interviews to help us learn more about their experience of introducing and taking part in the programme. This will help inform any revisions to the programme and the process by which it is introduced in schools.
What happens if a child speaks out
It is important to note that if a child tells us something that causes us to be concerned about their safety or that of another child, we will follow the school’s Child Protection Policy and report this to the Designated Teacher for Child Protection.