Speak out Stay safe

Last updated: 26 Oct 2018
About Speak out Stay safe

Speak out Stay safe is a session available to all primary schools in the UK. It aims to equip a generation of children with the knowledge and understanding they need to stay safe from abuse and neglect. Children are taught to speak out if they are worried, either to a trusted adult or Childline. 

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Trained NSPCC volunteers and staff deliver an assembly and workshop with the help of our Speak out Stay safe mascot, Buddy the speech bubble. Pupils are taught in a lively, memorable and child-friendly way.

It's an effective way to support your school's safeguarding duties and links directly to the curriculum. By the end of our visit, children feel empowered - knowing how they can speak out and stay safe.

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.

> Request a visit for your school

For parents
Is Speak out Stay safe visiting your school? Find out more about the service

 

Request an assembly at your school

Since the service began, around 80% of schools have received a Speak out Stay safe session and we'd love your school to be next.

You can sign up to receive an assembly and workshop or request a repeat visit from our team of trained volunteers and staff.

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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.

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The assembly

We hold different assembly presentations for reception, years 1 and 2/primary 1-3 and years 3-6/primary 4-7.

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.

The workshop

During the workshops, children in years 5-6/primary 6-7 explore the definitions of abuse in greater depth. They take part in engaging activities and exercises, including looking at different scenarios and deciding whether they are OK or not OK.

How we support you

Our trained staff and volunteers help you prepare for the assembly and class workshops, so you know what to expect and are confident about how to support your pupils before and after the visit.

Before the visit, we talk to you about any specific needs or requirements your pupils may have. We have also adapted our programme for special schools. And we can deliver our assembly bilingually in Wales.

The programme helps your school meet statutory duties, and will support you to evidence your school's safeguarding to Ofsted.

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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, 2015). 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).

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), or do not have the language to disclose the abuse (Alaggia et al, 2017).

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, 2013; Walsh et al, 2015). Research has also identified increased rates of disclosures about sexual abuse and bullying following school-based education programmes (Finkelhor et al, 2014; Walsh et al, 2015).

What we cover: Key stage 1 and primary 1-3

What we cover: key stage 1 and primary 1-3

We hold a 30-minute assembly, covering the topics below, for children in key stage 1 (reception and years 1 and 2) and primary 1-3. 

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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

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

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What we cover: Key stage 2 and primary 4-7

What we cover: key stage 2 and primary 4-7

We hold a 30-minute assembly, covering the topics below, for children in key stage 2 (years 3-6) and primary 4-7. This is followed by a one-hour class workshop for years 5-6 and primary 6-7.

> Request a visit for your school

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

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

Request an assembly at your school

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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


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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 robust impact, process and economic evaluation of Speak out Stay safe for the second phase. This evaluation will be completed 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).

> 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 will be led by the University of Central Lancashire in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, University of Bangor, 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 child abuse and neglect 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 leads to an increase in children speaking out about child 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.

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 a visit for your school

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

Volunteer with us

Our volunteers visit local schools giving assemblies and workshops in primary schools, teaching them to speak out if they're ever worried.

We provide the training and tools you need to play your part.

> 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. 

Request an assembly at your school

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More resources

More resources

We work with primary and secondary schools across the UK. 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 briefing.

Request an assembly at your school

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Request a Speak out Stay safe visit

If you are a primary school and would like to arrange a Speak out Stay safe programme visit please fill out the form below.

For advice and support on child protection for in secondary schools please visit our safeguarding and child protection in schools pages.

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References

References

Evaluation reports

Hollis, V. and Churchill, G. (2018) Understanding children’s and teachers’ views of the NSPCC’s Speak out Stay safe programme. London: NSPCC.

Evidence base

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.

Allnock, D. and Miller, P. (2013) No one noticed, no one heard: a study of disclosures of childhood abuse. London: NSPCC.

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).

Finkelhor, D. et al (2014) Youth exposure to violence prevention programes in a national sample.  Child Abuse and Neglect. 38 (4): 677-686.

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.

Public Health Wales. (2015). 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.

Ritchie, J. and Lewis, J. (2003) Qualitative research practice: a guide for social science students and researchers. London: Sage Publications.

Walsh, K. et al (2015) School-based education programmes for the prevention of child sexual abuse. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. (4).