The NSPCC Schools Service: working to protect children in Wales

The National Children of Wales Awards are proud to be supporting the NSPCC (National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children) Cymru/Wales, helping it continue its work supporting children, young people and their families throughout Wales.

One aspect of this work is its service to schools. Every week of the school term trained volunteers and staff from the Schools Service at NSPCC Cymru/Wales deliver free ‘Speak out. Stay safe’ assemblies and workshops to local primary school children. The sessions empower children, aged 5-11, to understand how to recognise and report abuse in an accessible, interactive, and age-appropriate way.

Offered free of charge to every primary school, in the last academic year the children’s charity delivered the safeguarding sessions at 436 primary schools across Wales, reaching 80,257 children with the help of its popular mascot, Buddy.

In the average primary school classroom, at least two children have suffered abuse or neglect. That’s why it is vital that children are equipped with the knowledge and skills to speak up if something doesn’t feel right, assured that a trusted adult, such as a teacher, will act to keep them safe.

“It can be difficult for teachers and parents to know how to tackle this sensitive but incredibly important subject,” said Candia Crosfield, Schools Manager – South West and Wales Region.

“Through our Speak out. Stay safe. programme we talk to children about the different types of abuse and let them know there are people out there who can help them.”

NSPCC Cymru/Wales is able to offer this important service to primary schools thanks to donations, which the charity relies on to fund 90% of its operations. A donation of £3 can help the Schools Service team reach one primary school pupil, giving them the knowledge to know what to do when something isn’t right. A £90 donation will cover the costs of delivering an assembly to 30 primary school pupils, and £580 will help reach a whole school of children.

Tailored workshops are available for SEND schools, and assemblies and workshops can be delivered in Welsh and English.

Schools can request an NSPCC school visit via the NSPCC Learning website at nspcc.org.uk/speakout

Anyone interested in volunteering for the Schools Service in Wales can contact 0121 227 7577 or email volunteerrecruitment@nspcc.org.uk. The service is currently appealing for more Welsh-language speaking volunteers.

The National Children of Wales Awards are proud to be supporting the NSPCC (National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children) Cymru/Wales, helping it continue its work supporting children, young people and their families throughout Wales.

From its service centres in Cardiff, Swansea and Prestatyn, dedicated children’s service practitioners from NSPCC Cymru/Wales provide preventative programmes, therapeutic services to help children move on from abuse, and support for parents and families in caring for their children.

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) can happen online and offline, having a lasting impact on a young person’s life – but children continue to be at risk because of a limited understanding of what it is and how to tackle it.

This is why NSPCC Cymru/Wales offers its Protect and Respect service from all three of the children’s charity’s sites in Wales. Protect and Respect works with children and young people to help them recognise the signs that someone may be trying to exploit them, equip them to know how to respond, and teach them who to contact should they have a worry or a concern.

One strand of this work is an awareness raising group work programme with sessions already taking place in secondary schools across Wales, with young people who may have an increased vulnerability to exploitation.  The programme includes groupwork sessions for children and young people aged 11-19 who need a safe and reflective space to learn about healthy relationships and consent, and to explore topics such as internet safety, grooming, and self-esteem. It is designed to raise awareness about the potential risks both online and offline, and to increase young people’s resilience and have a clearer understanding of how to access support.

As part of the group work offer, there is also a mandatory workshop for staff from the school, to help increase their awareness of the topics covered, and how to support the children and young people they work with.  There is also a voluntary workshop offered to parents and carers of the young people who attend the group.  The teenage years are a time in a young person’s life where they want to be more independent and to explore, which is a normal part of growing up. However, the growth of technologies and the different ways that young people communicate means that they are all vulnerable to exploitation.  This is why parents and carers are being given the opportunity to help them learn how to support their child to stay safe in today’s world.

Protect and Respect also offers a 1-1 service with children and young people who are at high risk of or currently experiencing Child Sexual Exploitation.  Children’s service practitioners take a trauma-informed approach, working with children and young people to help them to understand what is happening to them, and to take steps support the child/young person to experience safer relationships and a safer environment.

Alongside this there is also the option for parents or carers to be provided with tailored 1-1 support that helps improve their wellbeing and resilience.   Parents can play a critical role in protecting children from forms of abuse, including child sexual exploitation.  This can include helping families improve their relationships with each other and build on their support networks, as well as having an increased awareness of risks which their child may be exposed to.

The efforts of NSPCC Cymru/Wales to ensure both children and adults feel safe are truly commendable. The charity has been operating for the past 100 years, relying on public donations for 90% of its funding. We are so humbled to have the charity involved with the National Children of Wales Awards.