22 September, 2016
NSPCC NI has launched a new ground breaking programme to teach primary school children about keeping safe from abuse.
The ‘Keeping Safe’ programme was designed and developed in partnership with online learning specialists, Aurion Learning and NSPCC. The new educational resource is the first programme of its kind in Europe.
The content rich programme is being piloted across 71 primary schools in Northern Ireland, involving 13,200 children, parents and carers and 550 teachers and a similar number of school staff.
Keeping Safe will support teaching and engagement across in school and in the home. The programme, which will help to build knowledge and skills, includes:
The initiative was commissioned by the Department of Education. It aims to finally reach every primary school pupil in Northern Ireland.
Education Minister Peter Weir said: "The overall project is a key component of my Department's contribution to a number of Executive strategies including tackling domestic and sexual violence, suicide prevention and child sexual exploitation.”
He continued: "This project is of strategic importance to my Department's child protection agenda. It is vitally important that we educate our children in a sensitive, age appropriate way and that they are equipped with the knowledge and skills to keep themselves safe.
"Thank you to everyone involved in the project. I look forward to hearing the outcome of the pilot when work has concluded."
Commenting on the new programme, eLearning Strategist and Managing Director at Aurion Learning said:
“Keeping Safe is more than your standard eLearning programme. It is a programme that provides an opportunity to make a real difference in children’s lives.”
“Our aim in delivering this programme was to create an engaging, accessible, age-appropriate and educationally sound suite of learning resources. The eLearning modules and resources are focused on real-life situations, this approach helps to make learning more effective and relevant.”
“Our team of instructional and educational graphic designers have thoroughly enjoyed working on this project, particularly given the important role it will play, we were only too honoured to lend our expertise.”
Education Advisor for NSPCC Northern Ireland, Phyllis Stephenson added:
“We know that preventative education is key to giving children the knowledge and skills they need to keep themselves safe.
“Research carried out with 1,700 7-11-year-old children in our project schools in June 2016 highlighted that there are still gaps in children’s knowledge around what abuse is and who can pose a threat to them. Effective early education can help children to disclose abuse earlier and get the help they need to recover sooner.
“We know that school staff don’t always feel confident in talking to children about the topic of abuse. So we have developed a range of interactive teaching resources which teachers will be able to access at the touch of a button in their classroom. The ‘Keeping Safe’ materials have been developed across three themes; healthy relationships, my body and being safe. They include lesson plans, animations, and interactive activities, all of which will be taught in an age-appropriate and engaging way.
“We also recognise that parents and carers have a key role to play in keeping children safe from abuse at home, and we have developed workshops, materials and video content to give them the confidence to talk about those sensitive issues and reinforce the messages being taught in school.”
The programme was officially launched by the Education Minister, Peter Weir in Stormont on 21 September. The programme evaluation will be complete by December 2018.
Pictured L-R, Dr. Aisling McElearney, NSPCC, Barbara Nugent, Windmill Primary School, Dr. Maureen Murphy, Aurion Learning, Phyllis Stephenson, NSPCC, Colette Boyd, Aurion Learning, Neil Anderson, NSPCC and Lady Brenda McLaughlin, NSPCC.
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