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ChildLine Schools Service

Speaking to primary school children across the country about abuse and ways to get help

Our ground-breaking ChildLine Schools Service uses specially trained volunteers to talk to primary school children about abuse.

This will give them the skills to protect themselves and show them where to go to for help if they need it.

By 2016, we hope that our volunteers will speak to every primary school child and continue visiting each school every two years - reaching 1.8 million children across the UK.

If you're interested in the ChildLine Schools Service volunteers visiting your school to speak to pupils, please fill in our enquiry form.

A review of our first year

The ChildLine Schools Service has one clear aim: to give children the knowledge to prevent abuse.

Sadly, thousands of children continue to suffer abuse and neglect. We believe that the ChildLine Schools Service has the power and the potential to change this.

Read ChildLine Schools Service annual review 2012/13 (pdf)

Frequently asked questions

Why is the ChildLine Schools Service only visiting primary schools?

The majority of children who contact ChildLine services for information, help and support are over 11 years old, but we know that in many cases the abuse has been going on for months or even years. That's why the ChildLine Schools Service wants to reach out to younger children.

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Is it appropriate to talk about abuse, including sexual abuse, to young children?

We know that children who suffer abuse often don't recognise what is happening to them as abusive. That's why we need to help them understand and recognise what is (and is not) normal behaviour and empower them to seek help if they need it. The sessions are specifically tailored to the age group to ensure that the topics are covered in a way that can be understood, without being graphic.

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What if parents don't want their child to receive the service?

Prior to attending schools we will provide them with key information to share with parents. They will have the option to 'opt out' their children from attending the programme.

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Who will deliver the programme to the children?

An assembly and workshop will be delivered by ChildLine Schools Service staff and/or trained volunteers. All staff and volunteers will hold Enhanced Criminal Record Bureau/Access NI Disclosure/membership of Protection of Vulnerable Groups scheme, and the school will be given their names in advance.

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What are the vetting procedures for volunteers?

This volunteering role requires an enhanced criminal record check - these include Access N.I. check for Northern Ireland, Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) check for Scotland and an Enhanced CRB check for England. Volunteers will be asked to provide all relevant documents for the NSPCC to carry out these checks. All volunteers must be over 16 years of age.

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How will you ensure the volunteers aren't a threat to children in schools?

Before being able to deliver the service in schools, potential volunteers will be required to have an enhanced criminal record check. Two references from non-family members are also required. We will also work closely with our volunteers on a training and assessment programme, which will require them to be supervised by a member of staff before they are signed off as competent to undertake school visits.

Volunteers will always deliver the programme in pairs, and our agreement with schools also requires that a member of teaching staff is in the room at all times of programme delivery.

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What is the role of school staff?

Class teachers must be present throughout the assembly and during the workshops. This is essential for safeguarding purposes, and also enables them to manage any questions or concerns after the visits.

The amount of practical assistance we would require from teachers is minimal - mainly handing out letters, quiz forms and stickers. We request that class teachers give some time in class following the visits for children to complete an online quiz about the programme.

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Are you willing to talk to parents, the PTA or school governors about the service?

We have a limited amount of time to work with individual schools so we ask that teachers present the information to other parties themselves. If however, following the discussion, you still feel that a talk to parents, the PTA or governors is required, we will do our best to accommodate this request.

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What happens if a child indicates that they are being abused?

In all circumstances a child's safety and wellbeing is of paramount importance. All staff and volunteers involved in delivering the programme have had appropriate safeguarding training. This means they are aware of signs and symptoms of abuse and will take appropriate action if there is a suggestion a child may be suffering, or is at risk from significant harm.

In all circumstances, if a child protection concern arises during delivery of the programme, ChildLine Schools Service staff and volunteers will adhere to the school's child protection procedures.

Staff will discuss actions taken with the school, and information about the child concerned may be recorded on an NSPCC database. The school will be informed if this happens.

If, after further discussion with a school, ChildLine Schools Service staff remain concerned about a child they will refer the case to their schools manager who will explore this further with the school.

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What specific information will be recorded about a child and what is the procedure for accessing records?

We will keep records about the planning, preparation and delivery of assemblies and workshops, general information about the staff we speak to, the number of pupils involved and the number of pupils withdrawn from the deliveries.

We will not routinely keep records about individual children.

Under the Data Protection Act, you have the right to see personal information that the NSPCC holds about you, subject to certain exceptions. Please read our leaflet explaining your rights and how you can get access.

Want to see your personal information? (PDF, 117Kb)

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How will you meet children's need for 1-to-1 support in the new schools model?

The first step for children we speak to who may be being abused will be to help them to understand that what is happening to them is wrong and to help them think about who they can talk to about it.

This may be ChildLine or someone much closer. What is really important is that they have someone to turn to. When we are talking to schools about delivering the new service we will be exploring with them what support is available within the school and locally.

In some instances, our Child Protection Consultancy division may be able to work with individual schools to help them develop their capacity to support children.

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Can I provide feedback or express concerns about the ChildLine Schools Service?

We welcome and encourage the views of children, parents, carers and teachers on the ChildLine Schools Service programme. There is an online feedback form for parents, carers and teachers.

There is also a complaints procedure which is detailed in a leaflet that we will provide to schools.

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How will you cater for children with additional needs?

We are keen to ensure that all children in the year group are included in the programme. Prior to the assemblies and workshops taking place, we will talk to the school about pupils' individual needs and we will adhere to any advice provided by the school to enable all children to participate.

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What about children outside mainstream education?

We are looking at ways to engage children who aren't in mainstream education, for example those in special schools or who are home educated. In order to do this effectively we are talking to these groups to find out their views on how the Schools Service messages might best be delivered.

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two school children grinning

Register your school

Complete our online form if you are interested in our volunteers visiting your pupils.

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ChildLine Schools Service

The ChildLine Schools Service

Information about the Schools Service and why we need to act.

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