Meet our Regional Anti-Bullying Staff Champions!
Our Regional Anti-Bullying Staff Champions for 2015/16 have been selected from across England as examples of best practice in anti-bullying work. We will follow their anti-bullying journey throughout the year and share their stories.
Fern Holland - Hammersmith Academy, London
My name is Fern Holland and I have the absolute pleasure of leading student voice within Hammersmith Academy. As part of my role I support the Anti-Bullying Ambassadors within our academy. We have a 10-strong team of ambassadors who are known as the Safe Space team. At Hammersmith Academy we strive to ensure that every student can learn in a safe community, based on respect.
School days can be the best time of your life but for those students effected by bullying they can be the worse place to be. I think it is crucial that all members of a school community take responsibility for ensuring that we put a stop to bullying. Working with the Anti-Bullying Ambassadors has been a fantastic opportunity for our academy and we look forward to many more future projects.
Julie Morris - Coombe Boys' School, Surrey
I believe that everyone should be proud to be themselves and feel confident to be an individual; the world would be a boring place if we were all the same. To allow this to happen we all need to treat everyone as we would like to be treated. I want to all young people to feel good about themselves and to have the poise to understand that their greatest gift is being themselves. Also, when someone feels bullied they need to able to have the tools to deal with this as being bullied can make you feel isolated and that you don’t have anyone.
I believe that when this feeling is broken down and talked about this is the first step in stopping bullying. If someone feels they are being bullied this can seriously damage relationships around them, I would want them to feel that it is the people around them who they can rely on to support them. Young people need to be able to be confident in order to achieve both their full potential and to ensure they are as happy as they can, and should be. They need to feel they are important and valued.
Sue Chudley - The Sir John Colfox Academy, Dorset
I am currently Head of Lowers School and I have a passion as a teacher to see young people strive and be happy in school and in their lives without the fear of being upset, lonely or sad.
In my 22 years of teaching this is something that is very important to me and the reason I set up the Anti-Bullying Ambassador programme in my school.
Liz Vikmanis - Eastlands Primary School, Rugby
My name is Liz Vikmanis. I am forty something, married with 2 grown up boys and a very special dog called Mike! I am an advanced teaching assistant at Eastlands Primary School in Rugby, Warwickshire. I have the best job in our school and it is very unique. I am lead for PSHE and online safety alongside other colleagues. I am lucky enough to teach PSHE and RE across all year groups. I value the right for children to feel safe in our community. If a child does not feel safe it can have a huge impact on their life. As a child, I experienced being bullied for a lengthy time and because of this I feel very strongly that no other person should feel the way I did. A child said to me that ‘they didn’t realise just how bullying affected a person’. Another child felt they could come and seek help as they felt they were being bullied and the lessons and events we have at Eastlands had equipped them with the confidence to talk to us. I feel it is very important to help the person being bullied and the person who is bullying. They both have needs that need addressing. I felt before I did this work that the person being bullied needed all the support but I now realise that sometimes there are problems that we don’t always see. The work I do gives all the children the opportunity to reach out and ask for help and this helps us to see the bigger picture. Working closely with Anti-Bullying Pro and our school Anti-Bullying Ambassadors has given me an amazing opportunity and it has made me think about how I can develop my own learning further and what more I can do to help others.
I am very honoured and excited to have been chosen to be a Regional Staff Champion this year and I will work very hard to get the Anti-Bullying Pro message to everyone.
Yorkshire and the Humber
Rev Janet Lees - Silcoates School, Wakefield
Hi, I’m Janet. I’m the Chaplain at Silcoates School in Wakefield where I co-ordinate the Anti-bullying Team (amongst other things!). Two years ago we started our anti-bullying team after one of the students, who has now left, found about the Diana Award Anti-Bullying Ambassador Programme. Now we have an anti-bullying team from years 6-11 in school. These students are all volunteers. Their role is to listen to students who have concerns about bullying, offer support and friendship and help to run anti-bullying projects. Some of last year’s projects were
· A whole school anti-bullying pledge which everyone in the school signed: it was then displayed in the dining room for the whole school to see and remember;
· An anti-bullying song written by a year 6 student and member of the anti-bullying team which was sung at the end of term by all of the Juniors (years 1-6);
· Selling wrist bands in anti-bullying week for the Diana Award.
This year we have already planned a training day on 22nd October for all of year 6 and year 7 and the whole anti-bullying team. I am passionate about anti-bullying because I want everyone to enjoy life in our school. I can see when bullying makes others miserable and affects them in so many ways. I remember being bullied at school and the negative effect it had on me at the time. When students get involved in anti-bullying work I see great changes in their confidence and pride in their achievements It has been particularly good to work with Alex Grace who is on the National Youth Board this year. Come to Silcoates if you want to meet a great anti-bullying team!
East of England
Heather Tennant - Sharnbrook Upper School, Bedforshire
Hi I am Heather and I look after Sharnbrook's Anti-Bullying Ambassador Programme. Working with the Diana Award Anti-Bullying Pro has given the students from Sharnbrook Upper School many amazing opportunities to meet and network with like-minded staff and students. The students have been asked to speak at various functions and, I have to say, nothing gives me greater pleasure than watching the them develop leadership skills, converse with people from all walks of life and make a difference in their school community. They are an inspirational group of young people who enthuse their peers to join the campaign to stamp out bullying.
I consider myself extremely fortunate to work with young people, their endless possibilities and enduring patience to make things happen. Anything is possible as they demonstrate daily, no two days are the same and I wouldn't change it for anything.
Colette Cradock - Saddleworth School, Oldham
Hi my name is Colette and I lead Saddleworth School's Anti-Bullying Ambassador programme.
Since attending a Hate Crime Conference led by local charities in Manchester, the students at Saddleworth School have been passionate about raising awareness around all forms of bullying and discrimination. What started with an assembly about homophobia, has now grown into a Peer Mentor and Literacy Ambassador project involving over 50 students. The weekly meetings with this group are an absolute highlight for me as the students always arrive full of energy and ideas as to what they can do next on their anti-bullying mission. Projects so far have included a Year 7 kindness challenge, anti-bullying days involving representatives from the local community, and numerous assemblies and student led talks at local Primary schools to reassure younger students about their transition to Secondary school. Over the next year, we are hoping to take our anti-bullying message even further, with the launch of a Literacy Ambassadors project to support students in Year 7 who have concerns about their reading, and a self-esteem project once again led by the Peer Mentors.
Within the first year of the mentoring projects, students have grown in confidence and developed their leadership skills, whilst becoming a well recognised group within the school where younger students know they can gain support and advice should they have any concerns about bullying. Saddleworth School has a zero tolerance policy regarding bullying and we feel that this work is crucial in ensuring that every child feels safe and supported, not only by their teachers, but by their peers.
Catherine Haslam - Highfield Middle School, Prudhoe
I am passionate about the Antibullying cause for a number of reasons but the main ones being:
I was bullied as a child and genuinely did not have any options-or at least it didn’t feel like I did- in terms of knowing who to go to and how to access support. Those were the days when the bullying I encountered was face to face and luckily for me, it stopped at 3.30pm each night. These days where technology takes such a huge role in how others can make life unpleasant for another via cyberbullying, this is not the case.
I recognised that pupils need much more support and intervention. When I became a teacher, there was a gap in my school for this and I wanted to ensure that measures were in place. I got the opportunity to become the Antibullying coordinator and my work has gone fromstrength to strength since that date. I applied for the Diana Award in 2007 and are most proud of the fact that we were the first school in Northumberland to achieve it. I became a member of the local authority’s Antibullying Steering Group in 2008 and began to offer my training to other schools, both in and out of the catchment area I teach in.
Local media have always taken a great interest in our AB work and we have always used this to the best advantage possible in spreading the word and developing our campaign across the schools.
Our school is extremely proud of the many different ways in which we tackle bullying and support bystanders, victims and perpetrators and I now endeavour to continue facilitating others in the very same role, ensuring a solid consistent approach to the issue.
Caroline Hoyle - Springwell Community College - Derbyshire
I have been working in education for over 10 years and I have seen a number of students leave in year 11 with a variety of different experiences of school. Many are very positive but for some it has been horrendous and a time they just want to forget.
I’m passionate about making a difference in student’s lives and preparing them for life after secondary school. I have always been heavily involved with Anti-Bullying work within our College and now I am in charge of monitoring, tracking and establishing Anti-Bullying work. I work with a very passionate team of AB Ambassadors who love to make a positive difference around college. Together we work on trying to educate and prevent bullying from happening and give support and restorative work to those who are have been targeted. As a team we feel strongly about educating students from an early age and have worked very closely with our local primary schools and supporting their AB work. We also believe it’s important we help and support parents and carers especially with the developments in social media. I want every child to have the opportunity to leave school with positive memories. Memories they will cherish, look back fondly on and enjoy. I strongly believe students should leave school full of confidence and with their head held high and to know there is a consequence to their actions. Also a dance specialist I have choreographed a variety of different performances that highlight powerful messages relating to bullying.