#AntiBullyingWeek takes place from 11 to 15 November

Over three quarters of schools in the UK are expected to celebrate Anti-Bullying Week 2019, taking place from 11 to 15 November, sending the message loud and clear: ‘Change Starts With Us’.

Whether it is verbal, physical, online or in person, bullying has a significant impact on a child’s life well in to adulthood. This year’s theme, ‘Change Starts With Us’, underlines how by making small, simple changes, we can break this cycle and create a safe environment for everyone.

In partnership with O2, the Anti-Bullying Alliance has produced a raft of free cross-curricular resources for primary and secondary schools to help them bring about change. And for those determined to light up the internet, a special suite of content for social media will be available soon.

During Anti-Bullying Week the winners of the School Staff Award will be announced, recognising those inspiring members of the school workforce who go the extra mile to support pupils and prevent bullying.

Another simple way to show your support for the campaign is Odd Socks Day, supported by SafeToNet, being held on the Tuesday 12 November. CBeebies star and Anti-Bullying Alliance patron Andy Day and his band Andy and the Odd Socks will encourage pupils to wear odd socks to school to celebrate what makes us all unique and raise money for a good cause. A foot-tapping tune by the band entitled ‘Change’, as well as a campaign pack for schools and one for workplaces will hit the airwaves in October.

Martha Evans, Director of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, part of the National Children’s Bureau, said:

‘When we asked children and young people, they were determined that this year’s Anti-Bullying Week should emphasise how everyone can do something to lessen the impact of bullying. That’s where the idea ‘Change Starts With Us’ came from, and we’re encouraging young and old to show their support. This could be by being there for someone who’s been on the receiving end of bullying or sending the message loud and clear that bullying is never acceptable. We all have the power to bring about change.’

Responding to the Annual Bullying Survey, which shows a fifth of young people in UK have been victims in the past year, Cat Smith MP, Labour’s Shadow Youth Affairs Minister, said:

“This report is extremely worrying but sadly unsurprising when over the last decade, support services for young people has been ripped out of their communities.

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“Mental health services are at breaking point, thousands of youth workers have lost their jobs, and teachers are completely overstretched, which means young people experiencing bullying do not have someone they can talk to in their hour of need.

“The next Labour government will invest in young people and take radical steps to ensure that every young person has the support they need to fulfil their potential and feel secure in their future.”

Michael Oakes, Change Strategy Manager at RM Education said:

“School should be a place where children feel safe to be themselves and to learn, without the threat of being bullied. While much of the current focus around children’s mental health and wellbeing has been on the dangers of cyberbulling and social media, this study shows that classroom behaviour is still the biggest concern for students. Teachers have a large role to play in helping to eradicate bullying, but the modern classroom is vastly complex and teachers must be equipped to handle this amid tightening budgets and time-constraints.

“We must ensure that teachers have the support they need to focus on each child’s individual needs and not losing valuable classroom time to administrative tasks and processes. To achieve this, schools and teachers need to be equipped with the right solutions to address student challenges. Ultimately, technology provides several solutions to combat various types of bullying, it can help free up teachers time, but also provide a safe, non-confrontational way of asking for help or highlighting problems . For example, an anonymous reporting service for students allows teachers to more accurately track and identify concerning child behaviour. When teachers are correctly supported by technology they can have the time to not only spot instances of bullying, but also to resolve the situation and help keep children safe.” 

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