What is Anti-Bullying Week?
This year the theme for Anti-Bullying Week is 'Make A Noise About Bullying'. The annual awareness raising campaign is organised by the Anti-Bullying Alliance to celebrate the things which make us all unique.
Teachers and children are encouraged to get involved in anti-bullying initiatives throughout the week, culminating, kicking off with Odd Socks Day. The alliance also provides a range of anti-bullying ideas for schools.
The aim is to empower young people and their parents, teachers and carers to do something positive to counter the harm than bullying can bring about and try and bring a stop to bullying.
When is Anti-Bullying Week 2023?
Anti-Bullying Week runs from November 13th to 17th 2023 and takes place across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
This year's theme - Make A Noise About Bullying - came about following a consultation with teachers and pupils who were keen to take action to bring an end to bullying.
The campaign has seen 80% of schools take part in some activity to mark Anti-Bullying Week.
The Anti-Bullying Alliance says 7.5 million children and young people have been reached through events reminding everyone that bullying - whether in school, the home, the community or online - should not be tolerated.
Ideas For Anti-Bullying Initiatives
The Anti-Bullying Alliance provides a number of resources for schools and community leaders to make use of and to remind everyone of what they can do to stop bullying.
The Anti-Bullying Alliance is a network of more than 100 member organisations all united against bullying.
Anti-Bullying Week Initiatives
The annual Anti-Bullying Week event is an opportunity for schools to embrace their anti-bullying campaigns and drive home the message to be kind while respecting individuality.
It's a chance to share with the wider community the work being done in schools to prevent bullying and respond to the issue.
School of Kindness Assembly and Resources
In 2023, World Kindness Day falls within Anti-Bullying Week and holding a themed assembly is a brilliant way to mark both events.
The School of Kindness, which is part of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, provides lesson plans and assembly resources for schools.
It is also available to host Kindness Workshops is schools.
Odd Socks Day
Odd Socks Day kicks off Anti-Bullying Week and encourages children and adults to wear odd socks to school or work to highlight what makes us all unique.
Anti-Bullying Alliance patron Andy Day, from CBeebies, and his band Andy and the Odd Socks fronts the campaign which 56% of schools take part in.
Friendship Bracelet Making
Activities to mark Anti-Bullying Week could also include friendship bracelet making.
Friendship bracelets are symbols of friendship which are usually made from braided threads or other materials.
As well as encouraging young people to think about who they would like to gift their friendship bracelet to, this a great group activity to get pupils interacting with each other in different social groups.
Anti-Bullying Art Projects
Poster making is another popular activity to highlight Anti-Bullying Week - it can even be turned into an art competition with prizes for the posters with the most compelling messages.
The Anti-Bullying Alliance also has posters available for schools to display while art projects encourage all children to think about and discuss in more depth the issue of bullying and ways to address it.
Building a positive relationship with students can help to associate teachers with effective actions.
Teachers can also help to connect children with other children, helping them to build a bond with their peers.
Anti-Bullying Week is an opportunity to focus on this relationship-building in a safe environment.
A kindness stone is a rock painted with inspirational messages and images of positivity and left for strangers to find.
The stones can be any shape or size and can be left anywhere in the community such as in the park or public open space.
The goal of the Kindness Rocks project is to promote random acts of kindness and encourage mindfulness.
Holding kindness rocks workshops can bring children together to complete the project which they can then take out into their neighbourhoods by distributing the stones for others to find and hopefully post on social media.
Long Term Initiatives To Combat Bullying
As well as providing advice and support about childhood bullying to parents, carers, teachers and young people, the Anti-Bullying Alliance is working to change government policy.
It is calling for all schools to have an anti-bullying lead in place and for initial teacher training to include anti-bullying training.
It says 30% of children have been bullied in the last year alone.
Some schools already have consistent measures in place to try and counteract bullying and keep children safe in education.
A buddy system is where children are teamed up as ‘buddies’ to look out for each other. Some schools nominate pupils as wellbeing monitors, who keep an eye out for anyone in need of a friend in the playground.
An Anti-Bullying Pledge is a way to talk to students about acceptable behaviour and encourage positive social skills. A pledge which all students sign up to can help to create change in their school community.
Designated Safe Space
Create a safe space in school where children are free to talk about the issues concerning them. This could be as simple as a ‘friendly lunch table’ where a teacher sits each lunch time to chat to anyone with concerns or it could be an area within the school but outside the classrooms where a member of staff is always available.
The Anti-Bullying Alliance and its members have free online courses available to teachers and other professionals working with young people. These are CPD certified.
Issues covered by the training include topics such as bullying and the law; preventing bullying; cyber bullying and principles to reduce bullying.
Circle Time activities
Circle Time is generally used in primary schools to encourage group interaction and promote self esteem and positive behaviour. Integrating anti-bullying themes into the programme of Circle Time activities is one way to help combat bullying long-term, switching the emphasis of the session according to age group
Encouraging children to record acts of kindness they have carried out, benefitted from or witnessed is a great way to build a culture of compassion and understanding in schools. As well as inspiring pride, the system builds respect among pupils.
Filling in the chart over the course of the school year could also build up to a presentation event, under a rewards system.
Parent and Guardian Collaboration
Promoting stronger, collaborative relationships can make it easier to address sensitive subjects such as bullying for a more effective outcome.
Involving parents in school-based anti-bullying programmes has also been shown to have a positive impact, with parents more likely to communicate openly with schools when they feel their child is being bullied if they have been involved in such programmes.
Support for schools, parents and children is available online from a range of charities and online services.
The NSPCC offers tips to help parents cope when their child is being bullied. It also provides help for parents whose child has been bullying others.
A range of videos are available for children who are experiencing bullying on the Childline website as well as signposting to other services such as the helpline.
The website covers different types of bullying as well as offering advice for how to rebuild confidence after experiencing bullying.
Create A Safe Place In Your Playground
As a leading UK designer, manufacturer and supplier of timber playground equipment, Hand Made Places is also available to work with schools to support anti-bullying initiatives.
This can include creating safe and inclusive playground spaces where all pupils feel welcomed.
Our playground equipment appeals to users of all ages and abilities as well as those of all interests, so that children who might not necessarily enjoy the rough and tumble of the climbing frame have access to other activities such as imaginative play, creative play or sensory play.
A quiet zone is often popular, not only as an accessible outdoor place for children who experience sensory issues, but also as a safe area where youngsters feel able to chat and open up about their feelings.
Equipment can include Sensory Totems which explore a range of topics and act as a starting point for wider discussions. Outdoor chalk boards and white boards are also a good way to help children express themselves.
Buddy Bus Stop is perfect for the playground, providing a seating area where children who are feeling lonely can sit to indicate to their classmates that they need a friend.