CHILDREN learnt a very special lesson when they welcomed a charity mascot to their school.

The Prince of Wales School in Maiden Castle Road hosted a 'PANTS day' to educate children about staying safe and help parents to talk to children about sexual abuse.

The NSPCC has partnered with the Dorset Local Children’s Safeguarding Board and the Bournemouth and Poole Local Safeguarding Children’s Board to run the PANTS campaign county-wide.

The guest of honour was campaign mascot, Pantosaurus, who taught the children the 'Underwear Rule'.

The rule teaches children:

P – Privates are private.

A – Always remember your body belongs to you.

N – No means no.

T – Talk about secrets that upset you.

S – Speak up, someone can help.

The Prince of Wales is the first school in Dorset to run a PANTS day and headteacher, Gary Spracklen said parents had been very supportive of the initiative.

"It's all about talking to children about keeping their private parts private. It encourages them to think about their bodies and stay safe. It's a really important message given in an age appropriate way," he said.

Mr Spracklen added the day aimed to break down taboos around the subject and help children internalise the message and reduce sexual abuse.

During the day children took part in activities including designing their own paper pants, completing a body parts puzzle and learning the PANTS song and dance.

Two workshops were also run for parents which were designed to help them have important conversations with their children about sexual abuse in an age appropriate way.

Claire West attended a parent workshop as her two children, aged four and six, are pupils at the school.

"The school said they were going to be raising these issues and I felt it was important for me to come down so I would know how to follow up those conversations at home - I think that's really important," she said.

Mrs West added she wasn't sure how to approach the issue prior to the workshop but parents had been provided with a wealth of resources to help them create age-appropriate conversations with their children.

"They've taught us it doesn't need to be a big conversation but it can be a little bit now and then to get the message across," she said.

NSPCC head of safeguarding in the community, Chris Cloke said the campaign aimed to raise the importance of preventing sexual abuse in a "non-threatening, non-scary way".

"We believe prevention is very important. We understand concerns parents may have about having that conversation but it's about doing it in a way that is supportive and doesn't use scary words," Mr Cloke said.

He added the NSPCC were delighted to be working with the Prince of Wales School and encouraged other schools to join the campaign.

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If you have concerns your child is being abused call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 8005000


t: 01305 830809

e: caroline.lewis

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