Shadow Children’s Minister goes back to school with ChildLine Schools Service

Steve McCabe MP visited Colmore Junior School in Kings Heath, Birmingham, to experience first-hand ChildLine’s ground-breaking service for primary aged children.


Delivered by trained volunteers, the ChildLine Schools Service aims to visit every primary school in the West Midlands by 2016 to help 9-11 year olds understand abuse in all its forms, and have the knowledge of where to get help if they need it. The service has already visited 15 schools in the Selly Oak constituency and reached 1,180 pupils in Years 5 and 6 through its assemblies and workshops.

Mr McCabe observed a ChildLine schools service workshop being delivered by two local volunteers to children from years 5 and 6 and chatted with the children taking part about the things they’d learned about keeping safe and what they thought of the session. He also met with local volunteers Jean Nutt and Zakiyya Sabir, both from Birmingham, to find out more about their experience of volunteering for the service in the local area.


The Schools Service is provided free of charge and focuses on primary school children, aged 9 to 11 years old. It is led by volunteers who deliver assemblies at local schools followed by an interactive workshop a week later.The presentations and messages delivered at schools have been developed alongside children, parents, carers and teachers. They are sensitive, age appropriate and engaging.


Mr McCabe said: “It’s great to see the level of participation from the children. I think it’s pitched at just about the right level for children that age and it’s astonishing to see the recall from the assembly to the actual exercises they’re doing in class. As a parent myself, I think I’d be quite reassured to know children were getting some kind of sensible advice and instruction on an area where all parents at times feel a bit anxious. It’s a very impressive, worthwhile activity.


“Children’s safety is an issue for all of us and these are not things you can rely solely on big voluntary or statutory organisations to deal with, good work though they do. We need everybody to play a part”.

Kerry Bouch, Year Five teacher at Colmore Junior School, said: "My class were all looking forward to the workshop today after the assembly last week. The range of activities delivered by the ChildLine Schools Service volunteers, Zak and Jean, were very informative, thought provoking and at a relevant pitch. The children were all engaged and responded well."


One nine year old pupil from Colmore Junior School who attended the assembly and the workshop recalled one of the most vital pieces of information he learnt: “They were saying that abuse is never your fault and that you should always tell someone.”


And a fellow classmate said: “If you’re worried about something - you should tell a trusted adult; like a parent or teacher.”

Jean Nutt, one of the volunteers said: “Mr McCabe really engaged with the workshop; joining in with all the interactive elements and enjoyed chatting with all the pupils. The children were fantastic and really listened to all we had to say”.

Julie Hilton, ChildLine Schools Service Manager for the West Midlands, said: “We were thrilled Mr McCabe was able to watch the ChildLine Schools Service in action today and see first-hand the amazing contribution people from the local community are making to help keep children safe.


“We urgently need to recruit more volunteers in Birmingham to help us reach as many children as possible. New volunteers will be joining a very friendly team who come from all walks of life. You don’t need to have previous experience of working with children to become a ChildLine Schools Service volunteer as all training is provided.


“By talking to children at a young age we can make sure that if anything does happen to them or someone they know, they have the confidence and knowledge of how to get help.”


If you would like to find out more about volunteering for the ChildLine Schools Service please visit

For more information about the ChildLine Schools Service visit

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