AN INNOVATIVE child safety campaign in Keighley has been such a success that the number of schools taking part has increased more than fivefold.

The Children’s Year of Safety initiative was launched in Guard House and Braithwaite last September.

It asked schools and residents to commit to six simple steps that reduce risks for all children, helping them get off to a great start, achieve at school and fulfil their potential.

Headteachers and school staff at a recent Keighley Schools Together forum heard about the successes of the campaign so far, prompting many of them so sign up for the extended programme of activities planned for this academic year.

The pioneering Six Steps to Safety, which include better school attendance, road safety and online safe guarding, will continue to be covered in schools and mirrored in the wider community.

New activities including social media messages, more events and increased visibility throughout Keighley will help to spread the message further and encourage local people to protect children from harm.

Children are often unable to say themselves that something is wrong, so one of the key messages of the campaign is to say it is alright for someone to report a suspicion, even when they are not absolutely sure about what is happening.

Staff from the primary schools serving the area will continue to work together with Bradford Council officers and councillors, police, churches and voluntary organisations to further develop the campaign.

John Devlin, executive head of Our Lady of Victories Catholic Primary and St Joseph’s Catholic Primary, and Chairman of Keighley Schools Together, said the success was down to everyone working together.

He said: “This exciting project has exceeded our expectations, giving schools a platform to engage children and families and enabling other agencies and community groups to spread the message. “

Cllr Adrian Farley, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for Children’s Social Care, said: “The inaugural Children’s Year of Safety helped to put safeguarding front of mind for parents, educators and community organisations, with some fantastic activities bringing the message to life in schools and in the Guardhouse and Braithwaite communities.

“The success of this initiative has led to over a dozen more schools taking part in what we hope will be an ever growing, innovative campaign to keep our children safe.”

The first Children’s Year of Safety involved Merlin Top Academy, Our Lady of Victories R C Primary School and Laycock Primary School.

Organisations involved included Bradford Council, Keighley Children’s Centre, police, the parish of Keighley, the Keith Thompson Centre and Incommunities.