We know that the last year has brought many challenges for children and young people; with schools closed to most for months, many support networks being stopped or reduced and some children feeling trapped in unsafe homes.
It’s more important than ever that children know where they can turn if there is something they are worried about.
Before the pandemic hit, staff and volunteers within our NSPCC Schools Service team visited schools across the country to deliver our ‘Speak Out. Stay Safe’ assemblies, teaching children about their right to be safe from abuse and neglect.
In fact, since we started delivering the service in 2012 we’ve reached 96% of schools in Scotland, and in the 2019/20 school year alone we reached more than 145,000 pupils with our assemblies.
We deliver these assemblies because at the NSPCC we believe it’s so important to empower our children, and make sure they understand that they have the right be safe and that they can speak to a trusted adult if they feel anxious or worried about anything.
However, we adapted quickly to the restrictions around visiting schools in person and developed ‘Speak Out. Stay Safe online’.
This allowed us to still reach primary school aged children with our messaging, delivered to class groups with supporting resources for teachers.
With latest round of restrictions we have had to suspend this service, but as children begin to return to schools over the next months, we will once again be on hand to offer this much needed resource for schools and children.
It is not clear when our team will be able to go back into schools, but that isn’t stopping us from continuing to get our message to children.
Yesterday (Tuesday) we hosted a virtual Speak Out, Stay Safe assembly on our NSPCC Facebook page, with guest hosts Ant & Dec and David Walliams.
Ant & Dec have been long-time supporters of the NSPCC, and our previous virtual assembly, hosted by the duo, was viewed more than 100,000 times.
The assembly also covers some coronavirus related worries, including children not being able to see their family and friends, changes in daily routines, experiencing new feelings and spending more time online.
After watching the assembly, I’d encourage parents and carers to continue this conversation with their children by visiting the NSPCC website where they can find additional activities.
The recording is suitable for children aged five and over, and it also explains the support that Childline can offer. Parents can find it on the NSPCC’s website, Facebook and YouTube channel.
With some children now returning to school this week, teachers can also access our teaching packs and resources for in-class activities following watching one of our online assemblies.