Ffynone House School marked Anti-bullying Week with a varied programme of awareness raising activities. Students in all year groups had extended PSHE sessions to discuss the issue and the English and ICT departments completed work to underpin the campaign’s messages.
On the Friday, students and teachers joined other schools across the country in wearing odd socks to show support of this year’s national campaign slogan, ‘all equal, all different’. Mrs Walsh also set up a ‘Talking Wall’ by the hall to enable students to post questions or concerns anonymously. Their peers could then respond with positive comments and advice.
The main discussion point this year was the growing problem of ‘cyber-bullying’. All our students watched a powerful video from HRH Prince William as he lauched his campaign to equip young people to deal with cyber-bullying. Our students were shocked at how serious the situations had become for Chloe and for Mary’s son Felix. Even our youngest classes had mature and sensitive discussions following the video and were moved by the stories of the two women.
In English, Mrs Evans was able to add to this information by relating her experience of a student taking her own life due to bullying in a school she taught at previously. She particularly emphasised the effect of the tragedy on the girl’s peers and the guilt felt by those who had tormented her. Happily, our students found it difficult to imagine being driven to such dramatic action by cyber-bullying. The positive community values at Ffynone mean that this kind of negativity rarely features in their experience.
Year 8 worked in groups in ICT to create a package of information for fellow students about cyber-bullying. They made leaflets, flyers and posters on Publisher and created PowerPoint presentations to share with Year 7. Some of the groups also made videos to demonstrate the effects of this kind of behaviour.
These students also worked on different texts in English to demonstrate their understanding of the topic. They could choose from a story, letter, diary or poem to express their feelings and ideas about cyber-bullying. Their final pieces were thoughtful and emotive.
Stop, Speak, Support
To equip our students to deal with any instances of bullying, they were shown the instructional video from Prince William’s ‘Stop, Speak, Support’ campaign. They agreed that the style of presentation was appealing to their age group and they felt the simple tagline with the 3 s’s was catchy and would stay with them. Our students could see the value of targeting those that are on the periphery of cyber-bullying as it can often be hard for the victim themselves to find the strength to take action themselves. One of our Year 9 pupils said, “it’s made me realise that sometimes it’s just about telling someone you are thinking of them, that you are there, that they are not alone even if they feel they are.”
Odd socks and cartoons might be fun, but our students definitely picked up the serious messages that Anti-bullying week seeks to promote. Year 11 have even chosen to follow up on this topic with their upcoming assembly on ‘The Bystander Effect.’