Arbroath primary school youngsters have marked a children’s charity milestone in a ground-breaking programme aimed at helping them stay safe.
The participation of the Ladyloan pupils in NSPCC Scotland’s Speak Out and Stay Safe scheme on Monday means it has now gone into every mainstream school in Angus, involving almost 3,500 children in 33 schools during the last academic year alone.
The Angus achievement also signals 100% completion of the service for schools in Dundee, Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Moray and Shetland.
Research suggests at least two children in every primary school classroom across the UK will have suffered some form of abuse or neglect.
NSPCC has also reported that one in 20 children across the UK have suffered from sexual abuse, but one in three have not spoken out.
The SOSS service uses assemblies and workshops to help children recognise different types of abuse, encouraging them to feel confident about talking to a trusted adult.
It uses tools including mascot Buddy to put children at ease and involve themselves in the scheme.
A box of “worry bricks” is also part of the programme, encouraging youngsters to think about issues of concern.
NSPCC Scotland schools area co-ordinator Heather Whyte said: “It is really important that all children are reached with this information, whatever community or background they come from.
“We are so pleased that the schools are so supportive and welcoming to us.
“Although we are speaking about a serious topic the children are always really good at engaging and show maturity in looking out for each other and themselves.”
Jill Davie, the head teacher of the 200-pupil Ladyloan Primary, said: “It is a partnership we have had for a long time and adds an extra element to the work we already do around children’s rights.
“We need to be telling them as much as possible the different ways they can stay safe.”
The charity, which operates the 0800 1111 Childline counselling service, began taking SOSS to primary schools in Scotland in 2012.
It has renewed an appeal for volunteers to join the service and help to provide assemblies for five to 11-year-olds and workshops for nine to 11-year-olds.