Schools unite to stand up to bullying

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From peer mentoring to setting up vertical tutor groups, schools have introduced a host of different strategies to help stamp-out bullying. But to mark Anti-Bullying Week, which ran last week (November 19 to 23), a north east London school launched a cros

From peer mentoring to setting up vertical tutor groups, schools have introduced a host of different strategies to help stamp-out bullying. 

But to mark Anti-Bullying Week, which ran last week (November 19 to 23), a north east London school launched a cross-curricular whole-school project with a difference. 

Students at The Chafford School in Havering produced, directed and staged an anti-bullying-themed play in one week flat.

They started rehearsing Circus of Life on Monday, designed the set and costumes during the week and put on three performances on Friday. 

All 945 students were involved in Anti-Bullying Week in some way. Hundreds of pupils created a huge display of paper hands, each with an anti-bullying message. 

“Treat everyone with respect and you will get it back,” wrote a year 10 student, while a year 9 asked: “What’s the point of bullying? Get on with your life!” 

Schools and colleges all over the country ran Anti-Bullying Week activities to tackle bullying and raise awareness of the issue. 

More than 300 young people took part in The Diana Award National Anti-Bullying Ambassadors Conference at London’s Canary Wharf 

Activities included a panel debate, Dragon’s Den pitch and workshops led by celebrities including dancing with Twist and Pulse, singing with Vince Kidd, drama with Arthur Landon and Funda Onal, as well as poetry, public speaking and graffiti.   

Elsewhere, A level students at Cadbury College in Birmingham created a mock brick wall emblazoned with messages to bullies.

The week took place as research by the Anti-Bullying Alliance (which is supported and  hosted by the National Children’s Bureau) highlighted the way in which bullying can hold children back from achieving their full potential.

More than 90 per cent of youngsters said they had been bullied, or had seen someone be bullied, for being intelligent or talented. 

More than a quarter of 11 to 16-year-olds had stopped doing an activity they enjoyed because of bullying and almost half had played down a talent for fear of being bullied.

Achievement in academic subjects has been stifled too, with almost one in five girls and more than one in 10 boys saying they had deliberately underachieved in maths to avoid being bullied.

“We know that bullying can lead to children missing school, failing exams, dropping out of sport, avoiding extra-curricular activities and limiting their life choices,” said Ross Hendry, chairman of the Anti-Bullying Alliance.

“It’s unacceptable that rather than celebrate their talent, they feel that they have to hide their gifts, purposely underachieve in crucial subjects and miss out on things they enjoy because of bullying.” 

For more details of this year’s Anti-Bullying Week, visit www.antibullyingweek.co.uk

CAPTION: Stop bullying: The anti-bullying brick wall at Cadbury College (bottom); Diana Award Anti-Bullying Ambassadors with celebrities during the conference at Canary Wharf (middle); The Chafford School; Chafford students prepare for their anti-bullying themed production (top)


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