Stay Safe


Stay Safe

What does the programme do?

The Stay Safe Programme is a personal safety skills programme for primary schools – both mainstream and special. Its overall objective is to prevent child abuse, bullying and other forms of victimisation.

The programme develops children’s ability to recognise, resist and report risk situations or abusive encounters by teaching children

  • To identify for themselves unsafe or upsetting situations
  • Simple rules to help them avoid abuse
  • To respect and value the rights of others
  • The language and skills they require to seek help.

The programme also informs parents and teachers about preventing bullying and child abuse, whilst seeking to create a greater public awareness about the problems children can and do experience.

How is the programme taught?

Ideally, children are taught the content of the Stay Safe lessons in the classroom by their usual class teacher, and then discuss the lessons at home with their parents. Teachers and parents work together to ensure that children learn the skills they need to keep safe.

The programme consists of four sets of lessons, as outlined here:

Class No. of Lessons Lesson Duration
Infants 9 20 minutes
1st/2nd 9 30 minutes
3rd/4th 9 30 minutes
5th/6th 5 30 minutes

It’s recommended that lessons are taught at the rate of one per week.

Additional/supplementary lessons are available for children with special needs. This programme, entitled ‘Personal Safety Skills for Children with Learning Difficulties’, was published in 1996 and is designed for use with children who have visual impairment, cognitive learning difficulties, hearing impairment, physical disability or emotional and behavioural difficulties.

What will children learn?

The lessons teach children about what to do if they’re frightened or upset. One of the central messages children learn is that if they ever have a problem, they should tell an adult they know and trust.

How are parents/guardians involved in the programme?

As the most important people in a child’s life it is essential that parents/guardians are involved in the programme. It’s been shown that programmes like Stay Safe are most effective when parents/guardians are actively involved in the process.

Before the programme is introduced into your child’s school, you will be informed about the programme.

Worksheets to accompany the lessons may be given as homework to your child or may be brought home for you to sign. (The illustrations throughout this booklet are taken from the children’s worksheets.) It’s important that you use these to discuss the content of the lesson with your child. Doing so will give you an insight into what your child is learning, and present an opportunity to discuss the issues involved in a way more personal than is possible in the classroom situation. It also gives you an opportunity to discuss personal safety issues with your child and to explain the safety rules that exist in your family. Children have sometimes used the worksheets to tell their parents/guardians about problems.

Before the programme starts:

  • Make sure you’re familiar with the lesson topics.
  • Talk to your child about the programme. Explain that the programme will teach them how to keep safe
  • Decide on a time to set aside for discussion of the worksheets.
  • Stay Safe is the only mandatory programme that has to be completed in  primary school.
  • Personal safety skills programme for primary schools.
  • Child Abuse
    • Sexual abuse
    • Neglect
    • Emotional abuse
    • Physical abuse.
  • Why children don’t tell
    • Fear, Shame,
    • Lack of knowledge
    • Don’t know they have the right to refuse.
    • Don’t know how to respond.
    • Easily tricked
    • Children may try and tell through their behavior.
    • Children with SEN are 3 to 4 times more likely to be abused.
  • Revised programme
    • Key message- Tell, Tell, Tell
    • Audio and video clips.
    • Storyboard.
    • Vocabulary.
    • Website-
  • Implementing the programme.
    • Taught in its entirety as part of SPHE over a two year cycle- some schools teach the programme over two years but it is best practice to teach it in one year.
    • Taught consecutively in topics- i.e. topic one goes onto topic two and so on.
    • Don’t need parental permission to teach Stay Safe but a letter will to be sent out before commencing programming and parents have the right to withdraw their child if they so choose but it needs to be given in writing and note kept in child’s file.
  • Four levels
    • JI and SI, 1st & 2nd, 3rd & 4th, 5th & 6th.
  • Topics
    • Feeling safe and unsafe
    • Friendship and Bullying.
    • Touches.
    • Secrets and telling
      • Stay Safe Rules
        • Say No, Get Away and Tell.
        • Never keep secrets about touch.
        • Never go anywhere with or take anything from a stranger.
      • Always start every lesson with a positive e.g. a positive touch would be a hand shake or a high five.
  • Topic 1- Feeling Safe and Unsafe- can be supplemented with walk tall for older classes.
    • Developing empathy on when and where people may feel safe or unsafe.
    • Vocabulary around feelings.
    • The rights of the Child
      • Children’s Rights Alliance, Ombudsman for Children.
    • Topic 2- Friendship and Bullying
      • Value of Friendship and treating others with respect.
      • Bullying behavior.
      • Different types of Bullying- racist, homophobic, religious, disability, exclusion.
      • Coping strategies.
      • The role of the bystander.
      • Cyber bullying.
        • Rap: Stop! Block! Tell!
        • Create no hate- Luke Cullhane video.
        • resources are excellent
          • Bullying is when a person hurts or upsets me on purpose more than once.

        • Identity based bullying- e.g. homophobic bullying,  racist bullying, disability bullying.
      • Topic 3- Touches
        • Tell, Tell, Tell.
        • Explicit teaching of inappropriate touch- stories will be read and discussed.
        • Touches they like, touches they don’t like, touches that confuse them, never keep a touch a secret.
        • Every topic starts with a positive touch.
        • If you are touched in privates it is not your fault.
      • Topic 4- Secrets and Telling
        • Abusers rely on secrecy.
        • No one should ever tell a child to keep a secret.
        • Give the child the vocab to tell.
        • Good secrets and bad secrets- feeling safe and unsafe.
        • What if scenarios – parallel dialogue- 2 lines facing each other and line a) gives a response to a person standing opposite to them in line b). First person in line a) moves to end after each question.
      • Topic 5- Strangers
        • Rule- Never go anywhere or take anything from a stranger.
        • Role play different scenarios.- If in doubt, stay out.
        • Becky’s story (based on social media)- excellent video.-
        • When your online remember-
      • Edit your life: Be selective about what you share online. Don’t post photos of everything that happens in your life no matter how cute you think your child looks in them. Think twice about sharing photos taken in bathroom and bedroom settings. You can’t control the context in which the photos will be seen.
      • Ask yourself will this photo cause my child embarrassment now or in the future? Everything we post online creates a digital footprint and for young people maintaining a good online reputation is becoming increasingly important. Parents should consider any long-term risks of sharing photos of their child online.
      • Check Your Settings: Social networks regularly update settings so it is important to review your settings. If you are a regular user of Facebook, the social network allows users to do a Privacy Checkup which makes it very easy for users to understand who they are sharing content with.
      • Who will see my photos? Ensure you are happy with your privacy settings and understand who may potentially see your images. It is a good idea to regularly review your friend/connections on social networks. Some networks for example Facebook allow users to limit/customise who they share posts with.
      • Some things will always be public. Parents should beware that some posts/photos are always public for example; Twitter profile photos, Facebook cover images and featured photos.
        • Is your location service disabled? Many social networks and apps allow you to share your location. Some people may not be aware this function is automatically enabled on some apps and networks. Consider reviewing this when sharing family photos.
  • Whole school implementation.
  • Videos on under child protection.
  • Check out for more details.