It's good to talk

9th March 2007 at 00:00
Once upon a time, children were warned about the dangers of telling tales, with rhymes such as: "Tell tale tit, your tongue shall be slit". Today, pupils are being taught a different tune.

A charity is using citizenship classes to teach teenagers that whistleblowing is a social responsibility and that they should speak up in the interest of others.

Public Concern at Work, a whistleblowing charity, is piloting the workshops in schools across London and the South East, and hopes to take them nationwide in June.

Whistleblowing, the charity says, is not about "narking"; it is about taking responsibility for other people's well-being.

Evelyn Oakley, of the charity, said: "Across the board, pupils have pleasantly surprised us by demonstrating their willingness to speak up when the interests of others are at risk, contrary to what the popular press might like us to believe."

Before the workshops, surveys showed the pupils had "very negative"

perceptions of whistleblowers; afterwards, their perception was positive.

One pupil said: "The workshop has made me realise that saying something can result in helping others." Another said: "The workshop encourages people to speak up, and it makes people aware of what is going on so people can take action."

* www.pcaw.co.uk

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