1. What was your school like?
I went to three different schools... two in London, which were mixed sex schools. I went to one outside of London that was an all-boys school.
2. What is your favourite school memory?
School plays. They offered best sense of camaraderie. I stopped playing team sports after a while because of commitments to work and this was a great opportunity to feel part of a team. I miss performing live, a lot.
3. What was your favourite subject at school?
My subject was drama. It was almost the only class i enjoyed if I'm honest... I looked forward to it all hours of the week.
4. Have you experienced bullying?
A lot of the things that were said or done to me, I guess I would consider bullying, I didn’t realise how much they would affect me until later on. The insecurities and lack of confidence that I developed in my adult years I attribute to things that occurred at school. I felt alone and generally very unhappy at school.
5. Was there anything you worried about when you went back to school after the holidays?
I would be worried about being on my own and I constantly felt insecure about not fitting in with a particular social group or identifying with a particular crowd of people. Feeling alone is hard and it makes any bullying even harder to deal with. But I would encourage anyone to not sacrifice who they are or change for the purpose of fitting in. Wait for the people around you to mature and realise that cliques etc are superficial. People change and mature a lot towards the end of their school career (in my experience) I had little to no problems in my last two years of school because i think people grow up and reevaluate how they treat others. You'll be respected for staying true to who you are and for always being mindful of how you behaved towards others.
6. What advice would you give to someone who is worried about going back to school because of bullying?
Try your best not to dwell on what was wrong with the previous term or the negatives that have affected you in the past. Try to make a conscious effort to approach school with a positive mental attitude. It’s important you don't fear school or you feel that it is a bigger than you. School is a small part of your entire life and you are bigger. There is a lot more to life. You and others have a lot more to offer beyond school walls.
7. How would an Anti-Bullying Ambassador have helped you at school?
We started to implement an anti bullying program/budding system at school. It was effective. Prefects were mentors to younger children who may have experienced some form of bullying and I think the younger children benefited from it in a big way. I also benefited from the support of older students. It’s so comforting knowing there is someone who is looking out for you and importantly, that they will listen to you and offer advice if needs be. I could not emphasise enough, the potential benefits of having the support an anti bullying ambassador.