Keeping Safe was delivered to over 7,000 children in primary and special schools in Northern Ireland from September 2016 to June 2018.
This pilot is one of the largest of its type in the world. The results have the potential to influence policy and practice around preventative education in Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom and internationally.
We carried out a randomised control trial (RCT) to gather robust evidence about the effectiveness of the pilot. Schools were assigned to either an ‘intervention group’ who implemented Keeping Safe immediately, or a ‘waitlist control group’ who did not implement the programme.
We collected data from children, parents and teachers during the summer school term in 2016, 2017 and 2018. The last round of data collection was completed in June 2018. Schools who were in the ‘waitlist control group’ received training in June 2018 so that they could begin to teach Keeping Safe in their school setting.
The preliminary analysis of the data collected after one year has been completed and so far there are signs that the knowledge and skills of children who took part in Keeping Safe was significantly better then those in the control group.
A process evaluation was carried out alongside the RCT impact evaluation. The initial findings indicate that Keeping Safe is highly regarded by governors, school leadership, classroom teachers, learning assistants and parents. Children reported enjoying programme lessons, assemblies and homework.
We will use the key learning from the final analysis of the evaluation to refine the programme and inform the roll out of Keeping Safe across Northern Ireland. We’ll also decide whether the programme has potential to be used in other nations.
The full evaluation reports will be available from mid-2019.