Jade Speaks Up is a system which trains and supports teachers, schools, and counsellors.

It offers an engaging way for children to learn and integrate strategies to keep safe from violence.

Te Mana ō tātou Tamariki - Kōrero Pono - The power of our children - Speaking truth

A programme in schools to support children's wellbeing & safety

Jade Speaks Up (JSU) is a teacher-led programme. JSU gives children in Years 5 to 8 practical relational strategies. They learn emotional literacy and self-agency tools to develop trusting relationships, build resilience and keep themselves safe from bullying and family harm.

JSU is closely aligned with the Ministry of Education’s Health Curriculum (2007)  and addresses 5 of the 6 outcomes in the government’s 2019 Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy.  It is aligned with several of the aims of Te Aorerekura, the 2022 Family Violence and Sexual Violence prevention strategy guiding government action. This programme aims to show that by intentionally including learning about skills connected to relationships and opening up the topic of family harm within the classroom, children learn to be able to ask for help. This positively impacts on attitudes, behaviours and academic performance.

Between 2017-2019 with the support of ACC, 123 teachers of 8-12 year old students delivered the JSU pilot programme with nearly 3500 students, across 18 schools in Auckland, Eastern Bay of Plenty, Christchurch and Dunedin participating in this study.  Dr. Geoff Bridgman from Unitech evaluated the programme on an annual basis.  The 123 participating teachers contributed forthright feedback which was used to guide the on-going development of the programme and resources.

JSU builds culture change in classes that continues long after the programme has finished:

  • Teachers observed their students make the biggest improvement in attitudes and behaviours that were of greatest concern to  the teachers (68%-91% of classes)
  • 41%  of teachers noted literacy improved and 65% noted a drop in frequent anger issues at follow-up
  • 48% of teachers at post-test note non-school issues of concern are more likely to be disclosed, with 41% noting further improvement at follow-up.
What school involvement looks like when booking JSU training:
The JSU system of supporting teachers involves four key components:
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Intermediate SENCO

Jade Speaks Up makes it OK for letting students at risk know that they are not the only one living in these situations and the programme is really good for opening up the students to the opportunities to tell their stories

David King

Jade Speaks Up is the programme with an explicit focus on keeping safe and Waikowhai Intermediate is embedding JSU into our delivery of the Health curriculum. JSU brings classes together and teachers see the improvements in student language to deal with issues. The programme fits very well culturally with the demographic of the school. It fits very well being woven… Read more “David King”

Principal of Waikowhai Intermediate, 2019 after 3 years of implementing JSU

Michelle Clayton and Linda Cooper

Creating the resource Jade Speaks up was a real community effort ably led by Elaine Dyer and her team at Violence Free Waitakere, bringing together expertise from across the West Auckland Family Violence Sector. Family Action was pleased to have been involved in the co-creation of the resource from inception. The clinical team use Jade Speaks Up extensively within the… Read more “Michelle Clayton and Linda Cooper”

Family Action CEO and Auckland City Councillor

Jennifer Martinez

I highly recommend the training for any group that is going to deliver Jade Speaks Up. It’s an opportunity for the team to learn together and have a shared understanding of the content and process. It will only strengthen the team to deliver a success programme. Andrea and Elaine were approachable and friendly facilitators, it made the learning easy and… Read more “Jennifer Martinez”

The Logos Project Marist Youth Development School Programme’s Leader

Deborah Sim

Thank you for telling me about and introducing me to the Jade Speaks Up Programme. As a family law barrister, I have seen the consequences of family violence and unresolved conflict in many family/whanau and other relationship situations. I have witnessed the distress and damage caused to children and understand how seriously this can impact their development and future wellbeing.I… Read more “Deborah Sim”

Barrister and Children's advocate

Lisa Sell

I attended the “Jade Speaks Up” training at Kaitangata Primary School in January 2020.
This primary school is one I am assigned to in the Clutha District as a Public Health Nurse and so I know the school and community well.
At the end of 2019 it became evident that the school was having to manage and help… Read more “Lisa Sell”

Southern District Health Board

Jacqueline Graham–Barley

Providing an environment where children are safe and do not live in fear is what we would like to think is the norm in our communities. Sadly this is not the case. Many children live with frightening moments in their lives, to many this is normal. They do not know how to put their concerns into words, or with whom… Read more “Jacqueline Graham–Barley”

MB Ch B, FRNZCGP, FRACGP, Diploma Obstetrics and gynaecology, Diploma Farm Health. Advanced Diploma Dermatology Advanced Diploma Skin cancer medicine and Surgery, Retired GP, Retired Senior Lecturer Central Queensland School of Medicine

Teacher from Te Ara Koropiko West Spreydon School

I have been waiting 6 years for a programme like this that addresses the high needs in our school , impacted by the triple trauma of earthquake, shootings and Covid-19. The JSU programme uniquely  caters for all, including the students with complex needs, those with trauma, and those in stable home lives. The programme allows all to participate and shine.

Eve Tonkin

I just had to put pen to paper to express my gratitude to you for the extraordinary programme that you have created. Jade Speaks Up is very different to any health programme that we have ever had anything to do with because it is holistic, emotionally intelligent and authentic for each who participates in it.
The depth, breadth and… Read more “Eve Tonkin”

Principal Timatanga Community School

Dr Russell Wills

New Zealand has exceptionally high rates of family violence and child abuse compared to the rest of the world. Even if not physically assaulted, violence is profoundly harmful to children in the short- and long-term. The cost to our society and economy is enormous. Māori are over-represented among both perpetrators and victims. Family violence is our national shame. There are… Read more “Dr Russell Wills”

Paediatrician, Hawke’s Bay District Health Board. Former Children’s Commissioner.

Social Workers in Schools attached to four participating schools

JSU captures children who otherwise wouldn’t come to the attention of services.  It is a non-identifying approach for whole classes to open up issues. It is a great opportunity to find out about how all domains are for children who can present as if everything is ok in their life