PRIMARY schools in York and North Yorkshire are being urged to sign up to a charity initiative aimed at keeping children safe from abuse.

In Yorkshire and Humber NSPCC volunteers visited 593 primary schools and spoke to 131,425 children in the last academic year alone and they want more to come forward.

One of those was Knavesmire School in South Bank where Rosy Rowley from the NSPCC delivered an assembly to pupils.

She said: "We talk to children about all different kinds of abuse so they can understand and identify what abuse means. We also talk to them about how important it is that they speak out to a trusted adult if they have any worries at all.

"This is a free service for schools because it's such an important message we don't charge for it at all, which means we rely a lot on our fantastic volunteers."

‘Speak out. Stay safe.’ is delivered by NSPCC staff and trained volunteers to pupils aged between five and 11 years old, with tailored workshops available for Special Schools.

It sees a friendly NSPCC mascot called Buddy who helps children to understand they can speak to a trusted adult or contact Childline if they’re worried for themselves or a friend.

Joyce Brown has been a local volunteer for the NSPCC for about three years, and has visited most schools in York as part of the scheme.

She said: "Try it, it's fun it's interesting and it's educational. Some of the things the children tell us are so funny, also serious, but we're very entertained by the children."

The charity says that in the average primary school class, at least two children have suffered abuse or neglect, making it vitally important that all primary schools help to equip their children with the knowledge and skills to speak up if something is wrong.

The assemblies and workshops will also help to reinforce key lessons about abuse and neglect that will be compulsory for all primary schools in 2020, as part of the Relationships Education curriculum.

This will require all schools to ensure that children know how to report concerns or abuse and have the vocabulary and confidence to do this by the time they go to secondary school.

Karen Squillino, Head of Schools Service at the NSPCC said: “It can be difficult for teachers and parents to know how to tackle this sensitive but incredibly important subject.

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

“This new school term we want to encourage any schools that have not received a visit from us to sign up, so that we can empower as many children as possible to recognise and report any worries they have.”

Go to to request a school visit .