Tackling the bullying of specific groups of young people, including those with SEN and disabilities, is a key tenet of this year’s Anti-Bullying Week campaign.
Taking place from November 17 to 21, Anti-Bullying Week 2014 is entitled Let’s Stop Bullying For All and will focus on the fact that certain groups of young people remain significantly more likely to experience bullying in schools and the wider community.
Organisers, the Anti-Bullying Alliance, cite evidence from the Institute of Education showing that pupils with SEN are twice as likely as other children to be bullied.
Furthermore, research for Mencap has shown that 83 per cent of young people with learning difficulties have been bullied.
A range of resources is available to support schools in hosting activities for the week and the official campaign pack is free to download online, offering ideas for activities as well as links to further information and support to help tackle bullying.
This year, the organisers are also holding a national writing competition, which challenges students aged from eight to 18 to write a short story, blog, poem or news article of no more than 500 words describing “their vision of a world where everyone is treated equally and we have stopped bullying for all”. The deadline for entries is Friday, October 17.
The preparations for Anti-Bullying Week come after the Anti-Bullying Alliance has been funded by the Department for Education to deliver free training to schools to help them develop effective practice to “prevent and respond appropriately” to the bullying of young people with SEND. The next training day takes place on December 4 in London.
The week is also being backed by rugby star Gareth Thomas, who captained the Welsh national side, winning 100 caps before his retirement. Mr Thomas has previously spoken of the bullying he suffered as a teenager at the hands of some of his rugby team-mates.
He now leads the Balls to Bullying campaign, which visits schools to work with pupils on building resilience and boosting self-confidence.
Lauren Seager-Smith, national co-ordinator for the Anti-Bullying Alliance, said: “Anti-Bullying Week has been running for over 10 years and is an established event in the calendar of thousands of schools, colleges and communities across England. However, there is still a long way to go as significant numbers of disabled children and those with SEN are still bullied in our schools and communities. That is why we are calling on the school community to recognise the bullying of disabled children and those with SEN and take action to stop the bullying of all children and young people.”
For details of the writing competition and to download an Anti-Bullying Week Campaign Pack, visit www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/anti-bullying-week. For details of the free training programme, visit http://bit.ly/1rM6PnJ