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Virtual programme to help teach children about their right to be protected from abuse and neglect


By David G Scott

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A children's charity is urging primary schools across the country to sign up to its free virtual programme to help kids learn about their right to be safe from abuse and neglect.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) is highlighting its online assembly – hosted by celeb duo Ant and Dec and launched in October – as schools open again for the summer term.

Ant and Dec
Ant and Dec

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 run by the NSPCC.

Before the pandemic, staff and volunteers from the children’s charity tried to visit every primary school in Scotland every two 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.

Teacher with class. Picture: Tom Hull
Teacher with class. Picture: Tom Hull

Alan Stewart, service manager for NSPCC Schools Service in Scotland, 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 increased risk of harm.

“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.”

When children returned to school in the Autumn term last year, 171 primary schools in Scotland signed up to the virtual programme, with more than 32,000 children across the country watching the assembly.

For more information or to sign-up your school for an assembly, visit www.nspcc.org.uk/speakout. The assembly and resources are also 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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