This week is Anti-bullying week. It is a week that is coordinated by the Anti-Bullying Alliance across schools in the UK and in many international schools too. The theme is “Make a Noise about Bullying” and throughout this week and the next we will explore this theme in assemblies, in PHSE classes, with our tutors and class teachers in the morning and more broadly in discussions around the school.
A key aim is to understand what bullying is. Bullying is repeated verbal or physical actions over time which intentionally hurt another student or group of students physically or emotionally and is often motivated by prejudice against particular groups, for example, on grounds of race, religion, culture, sex, gender, homophobia, special educational needs and disability. It may occur directly or through cyber-technology.
Victims of bullying can experience long lasting negative impacts throughout their lives. Bullying can seriously infringe on mental, social, emotional, physical and academic functioning and can result in low self-esteem, depression, isolation, school refusal and may also manifest as physical symptoms too, such as headaches and stomachaches. Some of these symptoms may persist throughout life. In this day and age, the isolation felt can be huge due to the impact of social media encroaching upon our lives. Bullying can be experienced even in the private spaces of our homes.
Helping pupils to identify bullying and take action to stop it
Some of the desired outcomes from Anti-bullying Week will be to nurture empathy and empowerment amongst our pupils and ensure that they understand the importance of speaking up when they see bullying, and they are able to identify ways they can help when they see bullying taking place.
Our call to action is:
Make a Noise: If you see something, say something! Say it’s not ok, say stop!
Be supportive: If you see someone being bullied, let them know they aren’t alone. Ask if they are ok and offer your help.
Tell a trusted adult: It’s always important to let adult know what’s going on. Tell them what you’ve seen or heard.
What parents can do to help victims and stop bullies?
Parents have a role to play too. Start by talking to you child about what bullying is (the definition above) and the importance of reporting bullying behaviour to a trusted adult in the school. If you suspect your child is being bullied, you are advised to:
· Listen carefully to your child, reassure them and support them.
· Advise them how to cope in a non-violent manner (i.e. walk away).
· Build up the child’s self-esteem and guide them in how to be assertive.
· Communicate openly with the school.
If a parent suspects or knows that their child is involved with bullying behavior they are asked to:
· Talk through the situation calmly.
· Support the school in expecting this behaviour to stop (reminding child if necessary).
· Accept that this may have happened due to peer group pressure and the child may be bullying to avoid being bullied themselves.
· Acknowledge that this may or may not be an isolated incident.
· Ease the situation by using a sensitive approach.
· Explain to their child why this situation cannot continue and why it is important to you and your family.
As a school we aim to support parents of children who are either being bullying or being bullied. We support parents by discussing the problems and offer advice and help as soon as the situation becomes evident.
Odd Socks Day | Tuesday, 14th November
Anti-bullying week will by rounded off with an Odd Socks Day on Tuesday, 14th November where pupils and teachers, and parents if they wish are invited to celebrate their uniqueness by wearing odd colored socks. There is a cash recommended donation to participate which will go to Candle X, a charity that supports Mental Health. Our thanks especially go to the Pre-Prep who are having a poster competition for Odd Socks Day. It is a fantastic and creative initiative to help build awareness in the Lower School around our culture of preventing bullying whilst also fostering and celebrating inclusivity and the wonderful uniqueness of each individual in the school!