Anti-Bullying Week 2018 runs from the 12th-16th of November
Every year, Anti-Bullying Week aims to raise awareness of the severity of bulling across a multitude of sectors. This includes both schools and workplaces as well as many more. In addition to raising awareness, the aim of the week is to suggest various anti-bulling techniques and processes. One such technique used in schools is the Buddy System – but more about that later!
First, let’s look at the hard facts surrounding Anti-Bullying Week.
Bullying affects the lives of people across the UK, whether it’s due being bullied directly, or knowing someone who is. Unfortunately, you can guarantee that in life you will be made aware of the effects of bullying.
It’s reported that 50% of young people in the UK are bullied at some point during their school life. This can be any form of bullying: verbal, to physical or even cyber. These are all forms of bullying.
Bullying of all kinds will have a substantial negative impact on the lives of young people, their friends and family. It’s not “character building” and is not “part of growing up”. It is abuse and it has long-standing psychological effects.
Because of this, here at Hand Made Places we want to show our ongoing support for the Anti-Bullying Alliance‘s mission. It’s time to make schools safer, bully-free environments for children, at every stage of their education.
Anti-Bullying Week 2018
The 2018 theme for Anti-Bullying Week is “choose respect“. Furthermore, the ABA is holding the first ever “Stop Speak Support” cyberbullying day on 15th November.
Respect is paramount to creating a safe, supportive environment. There are so many crucial aspect of respect which add up to good practice in life far beyond school. So how do we show and develop respect?
Empathising or “putting yourself in another’s shoes”
Treating all forms of interaction with care – this means face-to-face and over the internet.
In fact, the very act of “choosing” respect is significant. It reminds us that we have an ongoing responsibility for our interactions with others. We must encourage children to make the decision to act with kindness.
“Stand Up for Us”
Anti-Bullying Week was set up by the Anti-Bullying Alliance in 2004. Their first theme was ‘Stand up for us’. This theme targeted primary and secondary schools all over the UK, and urged them to improve their bullying policy.
Schools up and down the UK need to continue to implement an anti-bullying operation as part of their school prospectus. There are plenty of techniques which educational establishments can employ to reduce bullying. One technique which is often adopted is the “Buddy System”.
Buddying is a process where one student, usually older, is partnered up with another student.
They will become a first port of call for the pupil, helping to put a stop to the stigma of telling someone about your negative experiences at school.
The pupil can go to their buddy about a variety of different problems, including bullying. Something which is usually kept to themselves due to either fear or pride.
Having someone who is your peer to speak to (rather than an adult) can be a lot less daunting for younger children.
It doesn’t stop there: having this peer will also help to instil confidence in the pupil making them much more likely to approach an adult themselves.
Peer support can help children through difficult times, with someone on your side, it helps put a stop to feelings of isolation. This is a key factor when it comes to children harming themselves due to bullying.
Remember: The ‘buddy’ must have prior training. Significant issues such as bullying should always be taken to a member of staff.
Putting the Buddy System into Action
At Hand Made Places we are supporters of the buddy system. Alongside helping children who are victims of bullying, we believe that it’s also one of the best ways to promote healthy relationships.
Did you know: The way you design a playground can impact school bullying.
You can use playground furniture to implement the buddy system. For example, the Hand Made Places Buddy Bus Stop. This friendly looking bench can be seen from anywhere on the playground; either Mr Buddy Bus Stop or Mrs Buddy Bus Stop stands proudly beside a small timber bench. This is a recognisable area where a child can sit and wait for their buddy to come to them. You could also use it as an area where a bullied child can seek some quiet time with someone willing to help.
We propose that you choose an area for the Buddy Bus Stop where playground supervisors or teachers can see it at all times. This way, anyone at the bench will receive the necessary attention as soon as possible. Another great function of this bench is the fact that it becomes a well-known area for those who are in distress, or seeking a new friendship group. Having this space can improve a child’s social skills and enable them to make new friends.
When you teach children to choose respect, they will be more likely come to someone’s aid.
Furthermore, they will have the self respect to remove them-self from an upsetting situation and ask for help.
It’s particularly to important encourage communication and listening in an inclusive way. That’s why we also offer the Share Chair. This two-person seat is a clever tool for children who may find eye contact difficult.
Another of our wooden playground furniture units is the Friendship Bench. This is slightly different to the Buddy Bus Stop in the sense that it is much larger and encourages children to interact with a larger social circle.
This is less tailored towards the Buddy system however, it is a great piece of equipment when it comes to helping children who are being bullied by a circle of friends. It makes it easier to find an alternative group to play with. Furthermore, the Friendship Bench combines features of the Share Chair, providing corner seats for reducing the pressure of eye contact. Again we suggest that staff monitor the area to ensure it remains a safe space for vulnerable pupils.
Bullies will tend to pick an easy target and their aim is often to separate pupils from their friends.
Therefore by using these types of products, ensuring that pupils are surrounding by friendly faces, will help to reduce playtime bullying. There is a long way to go before we can completely eradicate bullying from our schools, but by teaching children to choose respect you set them on the right path for life.