CHILDLINE ADVICE: Virtual assemblies offer the means to find essential help
Our counsellors at Childline deliver hundreds of thousands of counselling sessions with children and young people every year.
One of the reasons children contact us, and feel so comfortable in talking about things they sometimes haven’t shared with anyone else, is because our exceptional schools service do a fantastic job of sharing Childline information with children across the UK.
Over the past year, with schools being closed for long periods of time, our schools service haven’t been able to go in to see pupils for their usual face to face assemblies.
This has meant some children may not have had anyone to talk to about their worries.
To help us reach children right across the UK we put together a virtual Speak Out. Stay Safe assembly that launched in October last year, featuring Ant and Dec.
This reached more than 360,000 children in 1,606 schools delivering important messages to children.
Ant and Dec also brought some of their celebrity friends to do another virtual assembly in the spring term, delivered when lockdown meant most children were unable to go to school.
This allowed parents to watch our assembly with their children, and see how we talk to their children about issues surrounding safety, abuse, neglect and bullying in an age-appropriate way.
But why is this so important?
During the pandemic lots of children have been away from school for long periods of time, and while that has been key to bringing down infection rates this has meant that a lot of children have been away from their usual support networks.
This has also meant fewer opportunities for children to find help, or even someone to speak to, when they have a problem or something they’re concerned about.
Our Speak Out. Stay Safe assemblies give children the means to find help when they need it, whether by identifying people in their lives they can trust, like a parent, police officer, or teacher, or by introducing them to Childline.
And by making sure they know what Childline do and how we can help, as well as our contact number and website, we know they will always have a way to find support.