Former Welsh rugby star visits his old school to support ground-breaking NSPCC service

Former Welsh rugby star Tom Shanklin returned to his old primary school this week to help deliver a special assembly and workshop with the NSPCC.

Tom visited Tenby Church in Wales VC Primary School on Wednesday (Feb 11) and spoke to pupils aged between five and 11 as part of the charity’s schools service.

As well as playing an active role in the assembly, he also led two training sessions with children from the school.

Tom, who won 70 caps for Wales, said it was an “honour” to be invited back to his old school.

The charity’s Speak Out, Stay Safe programme, which was launched in Wales in 2011, has already reached more than 80,000 children.

Specially-trained volunteers have now delivered assembly presentations during more than 1,500 school visits.

Linking directly to the curriculum, the service helps children to:

  • Understand abuse in all its forms and recognise the signs that it’s happening
  • Learn how to protect themselves from all forms of abuse
  • Recognise how to get help and support

As well as assembly presentations for all primary schoolchildren, one hour workshops are also provided for pupils in years six and seven.

It comes after figures revealed by the NSPCC showed a 58% increase in the number of people concerned about domestic abuse in homes in Wales where children were present, with an average three calls a week to the charity’s helpline last year.

There were 170 contacts from Wales in 2015/16, up from 104 in 2011/12. In total, over the last five years, 726 calls were taken on this issue from adults in Wales.

It is hoped that the Speak Out, Stay Safe programme will encourage children to come forward if they are the victims of abuse.

Tom, who scored 20 tries for Wales, said:

“It’s been great fun coming back to my former school and helping the NSPCC deliver this invaluable service.

“It’s good to see the children learning about how to recognise and report abuse, so they know who to speak to if they are concerned about anything that is happening to them.”

Former Cardiff Blues star Tom added:

“I have fond memories of going to school in Tenby and it is an honour to be invited back to my old stomping ground.

“I hope the children have enjoyed today’s assembly, but more importantly I hope they have learnt what they have been taught as it could help protect them from harm now and in the future.”

Head of NSPCC Cymru / Wales, Des Mannion, said:

“Speak Out, Stay Safe is a ground-breaking service that ensures primary schoolchildren have access to essential information on abuse and neglect.

“On average, we have delivered over 300 assemblies every year since 2011 and it’s extremely heartening to see someone as respected as Martyn Williams supporting our team.

“Reaching more than 80,000 children in just five years is a landmark for the schools service and it’s testament to the hard work and determination of our volunteers.”

Images above:

1: Tom Shanklin at Tenby VC School

2: Tom Shanklin playing rugby

3: Tom Shanklin with pupils

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