Anti Bullying Week 2014Students at Harrow Way Community School have led this year’s initiative for the national awareness campaign, Anti-Bullying Week 2014. The week’s activities have been both devised and delivered by Year 9 trainee Unicef Peer Educators to ensure maximum impact and long term embedding of the lessons learned throughout the week.

Anti-Bullying Week is a campaign from the Anti-Bullying Alliance who were set up by the NSPCC and the National Children’s Bureau. The campaign started over 10 years ago to raise the profile of the issue of bullying [1]. This year thousands of schools and colleges across the country took part in Anti-Bullying Week to ‘stop bullying for all.’

As part of Harrow Way’s Anti-Bullying Week activities and to tie in into the 25th anniversary on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, students looked in depth at how bullying type behaviours deny the rights of the target and often the perpetrator too. Students went on to consider who has responsibility for ensuring that there are strong positive relationships in the school community, and concluded that bystanders have a responsibility to become part of the solution.

Anti-Bullying Week also provided the opportunity to gather student voice to review the school’s anti-bullying policy. There were bespoke assemblies for each year group throughout the week and all students were invited to take part in an online survey on bullying and as tutor groups were asked to develop a shared definition of what bullying means within the school community. This definition will be used in the updated policy.

Later in the term Harrow Way will be asking parents, staff and governors for their opinions and experiences of bullying in the school community which will be fed into the policy to ensure all stakeholders concerns are addressed. E-safety will be a focus, building on the excellent work of the peer educators from last year.

In September 2012 Harrow Way was one of the first secondary schools in the country and the first in Andover to achieve the coveted Level 2 UNICEF Rights Respecting School Award (the highest accreditation possible). The trainee Unicef Peer Educators have been working with Ed Waller from Realising Rights, a specialist Human Rights training organisation. With studies regularly showing that schools where Human Rights are learnt about and actively and consistently practised, outcomes include the improvement in resilience, relationships, a greater respect for diversity and a better climate for wider community cohesion. Against this backdrop, the value of being a Rights Respecting School are all the more apparent.

Hilary Delany concludes: “There is no doubt that being a Rights Respecting School positively impacts on the culture here at Harrow Way. Students are far more aware of their actions on others and what they have a right to expect from others too. Anti-Bullying Week has just provided an opportunity to further embed these beliefs, which we already see displayed day in and out here at the school. So much so in fact that we are looking to have students write the school’s anti-bullying policy”