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NSPCC NI urges primary schools to sign up for virtual programme to help keep children safe



NSPCC Northern Ireland is urging primary schools across the country to sign up for its free virtual programme to help children learn about their right to be safe from abuse and neglect.

The children’s charity is highlighting its online assembly, which is hosted by celeb duo Ant and Dec and was first launched in October last year, as schools open again for the summer term.

The ‘Speak out. Stay safe’ assembly helps children understand, in an accessible and age-appropriate way, how to recognise different forms of abuse and empower them to speak out if they need to.

It also focuses on some of the additional worries that children have been experiencing during the pandemic and lets them know about the Childline counselling service, which is run by the NSPCC.

Before the pandemic, staff and volunteers from the children’s charity offered a service to every primary school in Northern Ireland every three years, delivering interactive assemblies and workshops. However, due to social distancing measures in place, they have been unable to visit schools since March last year, so instead the NSPCC has made a 30-minute online assembly. This is being offered to all primary schools in the UK, along with supporting teaching materials with classroom activities.


Karen Walker, School Service Manager at NSPCC Northern Ireland.

Karen Walker, School Service Manager at NSPCC Northern Ireland, said:


“Over the past year, because of the pandemic, children have spent a lot of time away from school and cut off from their usual support networks. We know for some children home isn’t always a safe place and that many will have faced an increased risk of harm.

“Although our trained ‘Speak out. Stay safe’ staff and volunteers can’t currently go into schools, it is essential that every child knows who they can turn to if they need help and support.

“I encourage all primary schools to sign up so that we can work alongside teachers to help as many children as possible to recognise and discuss any worries they have.”

Grange Primary School, in Kilkeel, County Down, was one of those that signed up. A teacher at the school said:


“We were delighted to have the opportunity to invite NSPCC into our school virtually for the Speak Out. Stay Safe online assembly. The resources were accessible and enabled effective planning and preparation to take place before the assemblies were presented to the children.

“During the assemblies, the pause points ensure that the children were actively involved, giving opportunities for thinking time and discussion. The presenters captured the children’s attention and engaged with them throughout, delivering essential messages about keeping safe in a child-friendly manner. Follow-up activities were fun and meaningful, which provoked reflection on the content of the assemblies. We are most grateful to NSPCC for the continued use of Speak out. Stay safe.”

For more information or to sign-up for your school for an assembly, visit:


www.nspcc.org.uk/speakout.


The assembly and resources are also adapted for Special Schools and are available in British Sign Language (BSL).

Adults concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline seven days a week on 0808 800 5000, or email help@nspcc.org.uk. Children can call Childline on 0800 1111 or they can get in touch via:


www.childline.org.uk.

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