Rotherham gives red card to school bullies

Published Friday, 16th September 2016

Red card to bullies in Rotherham.

A Rotherham Council backed anti-bullying initiative is showing the red card to those who cause intimidation and grief at school.

Over the past year the Rotherham Anti-Bullying Company has seen results at schools across the borough show record levels of beating the bullies.

And as a result the group is going to share best practice at this year’s European Network Against Bullying in Learning and Leisure Environments (ENABLE) conference in Croatia.

Two students, Josh Barlow and Rosie Elliott, from Wingfield Academy, one of the schools taking part in the Enable project, will be joining the Rotherham Anti-Bullying Educator Ann Foxley-Johnson at the conference this week to take part in interactive panels and workshops, share their experience and knowledge in order to inspire others.

The ambassadors will be sharing insight from first-hand experience as to tackle bullying and their reasons why they have become Well-being Ambassadors. 

Josh said: “I was bullied at primary school, name calling mostly. I told my teacher and they sorted it out for me, but I became Well-being Ambassador because I can relate to others and I understand what they are going through and I want to help them.

“As a Well-being Ambassador, I speak to fellow students if they have any problems, promote anti-bullying around school and encourage others to get involved in anti-bullying efforts. I wanted to take part in the Wellbeing programme to help with problems in and out of school and to contribute in making school a happier place. So far I have enjoyed my role and look forward to any new opportunities that attending the conference will bring.”

Rosie said: “I wanted to become a Wellbeing Ambassador at my school after my friend had a few difficulties and spoke to a teacher, who was very nice and supportive and sorted the issue out. But after speaking to her she said she would prefer to speak to someone on her wavelength as that would help as well. I hope that the Wellbeing Ambassador team helps to keep everyone happy at our school. I like the fact that the team will address lots of issues that young people nowadays have to deal with- bullying being one of them.”

Ann Foxley-Johnson said: “Rotherham Schools have enthusiastically embraced the support that we can offer and we have seen great strides taken to ensure bullying is stopped. We need children to feel safe going into school and not intimidated and scared so that they can’t face going to school and this has a detrimental effect on their education.

“For our work to be recognised as best practice internationally gives us a real boost and this is a real incentive for us to do more to help other schools.

Improvements, which focus on pupil behaviour, have been seen in the playground and in the classroom.

The Rotherham Anti-Bullying Company educate schools with tactics such as introducing an anti-bullying buddy teams in the playground, workshops for staff, pupils and parents, individual group work and restorative justice meetings between upset pupils.

There are 47 schools in Rotherham who have taken up the anti-bullying provision provided by the Rotherham Council funded company, including primary schools, special schools, pupil referral units and secondary schools.

They have seen marked improvement including a difference in children’s awareness and understanding of bullying, respectful behaviour in school as a whole and their pupils embracing their anti-bullying teams and even creating their own ‘kindness crews’ or ‘problem solving squads’. This peer-led incentive has been embraced by primary schools across the borough and around 300 children are now trained as ‘playground pals’.

Cllr Gordon Watson, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services added: “This provision for schools is integral to help children understand bullying, how to prevent it and how to work together to manage it.

“The support from our anti-bullying company gives schools and pupils the confidence to tackle bullying, whether it’s in the playground, outside of school or online. It’s key that as a child centred borough we provide our pupils with the tools and opportunity to enjoy school and focus on their education, the work done by the anti-bullying company plays a big part in doing so.”

For more information on anti-bullying education in Rotherham contact Ann Foxley-Johnson below.

Email the Anti-Bullying Companyimage