Speak out Stay safe

About Speak out Stay safe

Speak out Stay safe is a safeguarding programme for children aged 5- to 11-years-old. It is available to all primary schools in the UK and Channel Islands.

Our programme helps children understand:

  • abuse in all its forms and how to recognise signs of abuse
  • that abuse is never a child’s fault and that they have the right to be safe
  • where to get help and the sources of help available to them, including our Childline service.

Trained NSPCC volunteers and staff deliver an assembly and workshop in a fun and interactive way with the help of our mascot, Buddy the speech bubble. Buddy wants everyone to know that all children have the right to:

  • speak out and be heard
  • be safe
  • get help when they need it.

We believe it's important that our Speak out Stay safe programme is available to every primary school at no cost to the school. As a charity we can only do this thanks to our many generous supporters and amazing volunteers. We can build in a number of exciting curriculum-based fundraising activities into the programme.

Current changes to the programme

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the way Speak out Stay safe is delivered has been changed. We are delighted to announce that with the amazing support of Ant and Dec we have launched an online version of our assembly.

This offer, available for primary schools, includes access to online assemblies and supporting resources which can be used in the classroom. They are an effective way to support your school's safeguarding duties and link directly to the curriculum. They will also help reinforce key messages about abuse and neglect as part of a school’s teaching on relationships. Together they will support children to feel empowered - knowing how they can speak out and stay safe.

Versions are available in British Sign Language (BSL) for d/Deaf children as well as in Welsh. We also have a programme for children with special educational needs and disability (SEND). Please contact schools@nspcc.org.uk if you're interested in the SEND programme.

For parents

Is your child’s school registering for our Speak out Stay safe programme? Take a look at the NSPCC website to find out more about what the service entails.

Watch our short film about Speak out Stay safe below. Please note that schools will be delivering a specially adapted online version due to the pandemic.

Request the Speak out Stay safe online programme

Sign up to receive our online assembly for your school and supporting resources to use in your classroom discussions.

Contact us

 

How it works

How it works

Speak out Stay safe consists of a 30-minute assembly to all pupils followed by a one hour workshop for older pupils. Teachers are present throughout so everyone's familiar with the topics covered after the visit.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) changes

As we are currently unable to visit schools we’re moving our assembly online.

Schools will be given direct access to a series of engaging videos with interactive ‘pause’ points where teachers can have guided discussions with their class using our supporting resources

Unfortunately we will not be able to deliver the follow-up workshops at this time.

> Register your interest in the programme

The assembly

The assembly helps children understand about different types of abuse so they can get help if or when they need it.

This includes talking about neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and bullying. We help children to identify a trusted adult they can speak to if they are worried about themselves or a friend. They also learn about Childline, and how the service can support them.

Welsh and British Sign Language (BSL) versions of the online assemblies can also be provided.

There is an online assembly presentation for:

  • key stage 1 (England), primary 1-4 (Northern Ireland), primary 1-3 (Scotland), foundation phase years 1-2 (Wales)
  • key stage 2 (England), primary 5-7 (Northern Ireland), primary 4-7 (Scotland), key stage 2 (Wales).

The assembly helps children understand about different types of abuse so they can get help if or when they need it. This includes talking about neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and bullying. We help children to identify a trusted adult they can speak to if they are worried about themselves or a friend. They also learn about Childline, and how the service can support them.

Welsh and British Sign Language (BSL) versions of the virtual assemblies can also be provided.

Supporting resources 

We provide supporting resources that complement the virtual assemblies and help reinforce our essential safeguarding messages with children. These consist of:

  • a pre-online assembly presentation pack to use before the assembly (key stage 2 only – ages 7-11)
  • a teaching guidance and a lesson plan to use after the assembly (both key stage 1 and 2 – ages 5-11).

The workshop

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are not delivering our workshop for children in years 5-6 and primary 6-7 until further notice.

Contact us about the Speak out Stay safe programme

 

Evidence

Evidence 

Facing stressful life experiences at a young age can have a long term impact on a child’s wellbeing, with effects lasting into adulthood (Public Health Wales, 2016)1. It’s vital that adults know how to spot the signs that a child is being abused and provide appropriate support, but we also need to help children speak out about anything that’s making them uncomfortable. This will help make sure the abuse ends sooner and children can access the right support to help them get back on track.

However research tells us it can take children years to tell someone about experiencing abuse and neglect, if they disclose at all (Allnock and Miller, 2013)2.

One of the reasons for this is that children lack knowledge and understanding about abuse and neglect. Many children do not recognise their experiences as abusive (McElearney et al, 2011)3, or do not have the language to disclose the abuse (Alaggia et al, 2017)4.

School-based education programmes about specific forms of abuse have been found to improve children’s knowledge and understanding up to six months later (Fellmeth et al, 20135; Walsh et al, 20156). Research has also identified increased rates of disclosures about sexual abuse and bullying following school-based education programmes (Finkelhor et al, 20147; Walsh et al, 20158).

References

Public Health Wales (2016) Adverse Childhood Experiences and their impact on health-harming behaviours in the Welsh adult population: alcohol use, drug use, violence, sexual behaviour, incarceration, smoking and poor diet (PDF). Cardiff, Public Health Wales.
Allnock, D. and Miller, P (2013) No one noticed, no one heard: a study of disclosures of childhood abuse. London: NSPCC.
McElearney, A. et al (2011) Keeping safe: establishing the need to teach “keeping safe” messages in primary schools in Northern Ireland: what do children currently know and understand?. London: NSPCC.
Alaggia, R., Collin-Vézina, D. and Lateef, R (2017) Facilitators and barriers to child sexual abuse (CSA) disclosures: a research update (2000–2016). Trauma, violence & abuse. 1-24.
Fellmeth, G. L. T. et al (2013) Educational and skills-based interventions for preventing relationship and dating violence in adolescents and young adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. (6).
Walsh, K. et al (2015) School-based education programmes for the prevention of child sexual abuse. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. (4).
Finkelhor, D. et al (2014) Youth exposure to violence prevention programs in a national sample. Child Abuse and Neglect. 38 (4): 677-686.
Walsh, K. et al (2015) School-based education programmes for the prevention of child sexual abuse. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. (4).
What we cover: key stage 1

What we cover: key stage 1

Our online assembly is 25 minutes long and covers a range of topics for children in key stage 1 (England), primary 1-4 (Northern Ireland), primary 1-3 (Scotland) and foundation phase years 1-2 (Wales).

If you’re looking for information on what we cover for key stage 2 (England), primary 5-7 (Northern Ireland), primary 4-7 (Scotland) and key stage 2 (Wales), see the next tab.

> Request the Speak out Stay safe online programme

What happens in the assembly

Meet Buddy

The children meet Buddy, a friendly, green speech bubble who believes that children should be able to speak out to someone if they're worried or unhappy.

Meet Buddy

We acknowledge that things have changed over the last few months and that school might look different. We talk about how that might make children feel.

Sometimes things make us happy and sometimes they can make us sad, worried or unhappy. It’s important to understand our feelings and not keep worries to ourselves and that’s what we would like children to know.

Children's rights

The assembly explains that all children have the right to speak out and be heard, to be safe and to get help when they need it.

Childrens rights

Explaining the ways that children can be hurt

 We explain the different ways that children can be hurt in a simple, age appropriate way, so that children understand when something's not right.

Privates are private

Speaking out

Children think about grown-ups who may be good to talk to, both in school and out of school.

Speaking out

Getting help

Children learn about Childline, and how they can get in contact if they're worried or need to talk.

Getting help

Interested in a Speak out Stay safe assembly for your school?

Contact us

 

What we cover: key stage 2

What we cover: key stage 2

Our online assembly is 30 minutes long and would usually be followed by a one-hour class workshop for years 5-6 and primary 6-7. To ensure social distancing during the pandemic, we won’t be offering a workshop at this current time.

You can use our supporting resources to reinforce our essential safeguarding messages for key stage 2 (England), primary 5-7 (Northern Ireland), primary 4-7 (Scotland) and key stage 2 (Wales).

> Request the Speak out Stay safe online programme

What to expect during the assembly

Meet Buddy

The children meet Buddy, a friendly, green speech bubble who believes that children should be able to speak out to someone if they're worried or unhappy.

Meet Buddy

Coronavirus

We acknowledge that things might have been very different over the last few months and that things might have changed in school.

Sometimes things make us happy and sometimes they can make us sad, worried or anxious. It’s important to understand our feelings and not keep worries to ourselves and that’s what we would like children to know.

What's worrying you?

Children get involved and discuss some of the reasons why a child may feel sad, worried or anxious and need someone to talk to.

What might make children feel worried

Explaining different types of abuse

We explain the different types of abuse in a simple, age appropriate way, so that children understand when something's not right.

Different types of abuse

Someone to talk to

Children think about trusted adults who they could talk to if they're worried, both in school and out of school.

Someone to talk to

Childline

Children learn about Childline, and how they can get in contact if they're worried or need to talk.

Childline

Interested in a Speak out Stay safe assembly for your school?

Contact us

 

Testimonials

Testimonials

From schools

"The session gave children clear ideas of where they could go for help and advice in a straight forward way. They make it really child friendly."

Vera Jajechnyk, Head of School and Safeguarding Lead, St John’s Catholic School

From children

"You visited our school last term and it was really fun. I liked Buddy and still remember the number you taught us. It's nice knowing that Childline is always here for me if I ever need them."

Girl, age 11

"The NSPCC came into my school today. It was really good to hear about Childline and to know that I can talk to you about anything. I have been getting bullied at school so I have been feeling quite sad. Knowing that Childline is always here for children really helps."

Boy, age 11

From parents

"My daughter thought the volunteers were fantastic, really real people, very warm and friendly."

Sally, Prestatyn


Request an assembly at your school

Request a visit for your school

Evaluation

Evaluation

We’re evaluating Speak out Stay safe in two phases. The first phase was completed in September 2018 and gave us an initial understanding of:

  • the perceived impact of Speak out Stay safe on children and schools
  • the experiences of pupils, teachers, NSPCC staff and volunteers who take part in the programme
  • how the Speak out Stay safe model is delivered and adapted
  • what helps and hinders programme delivery.

We’ve commissioned the University of Central Lancashire, in collaboration with four other UK universities, to carry out a full independent UK evaluation of Speak out Stay safe for the second phase. This will be a robust impact, process and economic evaluation and the findings will be available in 2021.

What we’ve learnt

Our initial evaluation was small-scale, carried out in ten schools in England only. The findings can’t be generalised to all schools receiving the Speak out Stay safe programme across the UK, but they will help us improve the way the programme is delivered and contribute to the design and implementation of the phase 2 evaluation.


Findings from the initial evaluation include:

  • Children told us they knew more about bullying, abuse and neglect following Speak out Stay safe.
  • Speak out Stay safe helped identify safeguarding concerns amongst the children who participated in this evaluation.
  • There is value in the NSPCC visiting schools to deliver the Speak out Stay safe messages to children .
  • School staff can also learn from Speak out Stay safe.
  • The content, pitch and delivery of the Speak out Stay safe assemblies and workshop were felt to be age-appropriate and engaging for children.
  • The format of Speak out Stay safe helps standardise delivery, but some variations were observed.
  • There are some things we can do to improve the programme.
    (Hollis and Churchill, 2018)1.

Read the full evaluation report


How we’re evaluating this service

Our initial evaluation gained the views of children and school staff within ten schools in England. We carried out:

  • focus groups with pupils on the same day as the Speak out Stay safe session
  • interviews with school staff shortly after the Speak out Stay safe session
  • interviews with NSPCC staff who co-ordinate and deliver Speak out Stay safe
  • interviews with volunteers who deliver Speak out Stay safe.

We used framework analysis to analyse the transcriptions of focus groups and interviews (Ritchie and Lewis, 2003).

We also observed Speak out Stay safe sessions using a checklist. This helped us analyse:

  • the duration and structure of sessions
  • variations in service delivery
  • engagement of children and teachers
  • the responses given by children.

The recruitment and consent process and all data collection methods and materials for the phase one evaluation were given full ethical approval by the NSPCC’s independent Research Ethics Committee.

The second phase of the evaluation is an independent evaluation named ‘TESSE’ (The Evaluation of Speak out Stay safe). This evaluation will be led by the University of Central Lancashire in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, Bangor University, Queens University Belfast and the University of Greenwich. The evaluation will have three elements as outlined below:

An impact evaluation

This will explore how children’s knowledge, understanding and recognition of abuse, neglect and bullying changes after they have taken part in the Speak out Stay safe assemblies and workshops.

It will also investigate whether Speak out Stay safe improves children’s knowledge of who they can speak out to and whether the programme increases children's readiness to seek help if they or their friends experience abuse and neglect.

Approximately 4,000 children will be involved in the impact evaluation from across 90 UK primary schools. Data collection will start in January 2019.

A process evaluation

This will run alongside the impact evaluation to explore how Speak out Stay safe works and to understand what helps and hinders successful delivery.

Interviews and focus groups will be carried out with pupils and school staff to find out what they think of the programme.

An economic evaluation

This will assess the full range of wider costs and outcomes associated with Speak out Stay safe from a societal perspective. It will also explore how cost-efficient the programme is.

The Health Foundation logo


The evaluation is supported by The Health Foundation, an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK.

Support us

Support us

We believe it's important that our Speak out Stay safe programme is available to every primary school at no cost to the school.

> Request the Speak out Stay safe online programme

As a charity we can only do this thanks to our many generous supporters and amazing volunteers.

Volunteer with us

Our volunteers would normally be visiting local primary schools giving assemblies and workshops. However, due to the pandemic, we have currently stopped delivering the programme to schools in person and are not accepting any new applications for volunteer roles.

We will be reopening adverts for new volunteers later in the year. In the meantime, you can sign up for our email alerts if you would like to keep updated on any vacancies reopening in your area.

> Find out more about volunteering opportunities on the NSPCC website

Fundraise for us

Speak out Stay safe is available at no cost to schools, thanks to the financial support and generosity of our supporters.

If you'd like to take part in a fundraising event to help us continue this work, take a look at our fundraising ideas for schools on the NSPCC website or email us for more information. 

Register your interest in a Speak out Stay safe online assembly today.

Contact us

 

SEND

Speak out Stay safe SEND programme

If you work with d/Deaf children, we have a version of the online programme that is available in British Sign Language (BSL) which you can request via our online form.

We also have a Speak out Stay safe programme for schools who work with children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). 

The SEND programme provides support and resources to help you deliver messages to your pupils about what abuse is and which trusted adults they can turn to for help. We provide access to resources including session plans, films and printable props all of which use our friendly speech bubble mascot called Buddy.

Your local NSPCC Schools Service Area Coordinators can support your school to deliver the programme by briefing school staff at the start and gathering feedback and learning at the end.

If you feel the Speak out Stay safe SEND programme would benefit the children in your school, please contact schools@nspcc.org.uk and we will arrange for your local Area Coordinator to get in touch.

More resources

More resources

We work with primary and secondary schools across the UK and Channel Islands. In addition to Speak out Stay safe, we have specialist resources, lesson plans and training to help schools safeguard children. This includes:

You can also find out more about what to do if a child talks about abuse in our recognising and responding to abuse page.

Request our programme

Request our Speak out Stay safe programme for your primary school

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we’ve changed the way our programme is being delivered. Our staff and volunteers will no longer be making visits to primary schools until further notice.

Please complete and submit the form below to access Speak out Stay safe online. If you’re interested in registering for school visits in 2021 onwards, please use the same form and we will be in touch.

For secondary school advice and support, including training courses, safeguarding assessments and teaching resources, please visit our safeguarding and child protection in schools pages.

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