Sir John Lawes' School: Different and Unique... Looking beyond the disability

This year at Sir John Lawes's School in Harpenden - we have been focusing on how we can learn to accept the things that can make us different and unique. 

Some of our past successes include Anti-Bullying week in which we held assemblies, a whole school quiz made and delivered by us and a whole school photo competition. Once we had chosen the winners from each year group, we used these pictures on our Anti-Bullying display board. During Anti-Bullying week the Sixth Formers also got involved by organising a debate entitled, “Banter of Bullying? Where is the line?” That saw an audience of 50 demonstrating that tackling bullying is something that is important to many of our school community.

More recently, we put together an Anti-Bullying Conference, in which 72 Sir John Lawes students welcomed four students from WEIP (a learning disability and challenging behaviour specialist consultancy). The morning kicked off with the founder of WEIP, Adam Garland giving us a talk where he stated that ‘we don’t care about disability, we only care about ability.’ The students were then thrown into a carousel of different activities aimed at enabling students to consider and understand what it is like to live with a disability. However, at the same time learning the similarities between us and the seemingly different people.

Activities included teaching the WEIP students how to do things they struggled with such as telling the time, identifying coins and writing their names. However, the WEIP students also taught us a thing or two!

In the second part of our conference, we led a student voice panel, asking questions about bullying in general and whether we, as Ambassadors, are doing enough to conquer bullying.

Throughout the conference there was a board up for people to write their thoughts about bullying within the school and the success of the conference. The response was immensely positive, with the students commenting that “instead of ‘us’ and ‘them' it should be just ‘us’ and to not judge people on what they do, sound like or look like.

A comment from one of our year 8 students summed up the purpose of the event, and the message we wanted the students to take away from the event:

‘We should look beyond the disability. Not everyone is as able as everyone else, but this shouldn't be important.’

Watch Sir John Lawes'  School's- Different and Unique Video...

Written by- Hannah and the SJL Ambassadors