Olympic ideals used to beat bullying
Monday, 08 October 2012
The Olympics and Paralympics may be over, but the legacy of the Olympic ideals live on in a conference being hosted by Hampshire County Council next week aimed at combating bullying.
The Anti-bullying Conference is being held at the County Council's headquarters in Winchester on Friday, 12 October.
Around 75 pupils, ranging in ages from 10 through to 16 will be attending the conference, representing 34 schools and colleges in Hampshire along with teachers and other professionals who work with children and young people.
Through drama, film and interactive activities the conference has five themes running through the day:
- Religious bullying
- Exclusion due to disability
- Fear and hate crime including homophobic bullying
- Defeat Doubt - building resilience
The delegates will be encouraged to see how the Olympic ideals of: courage, respect, equality, friendship, determination, excellence and inspiration can be used to address these issues. There will be presentations by pupils from Quilley School of Engineering and The Westgate School and young people will read out their winning entries in the 2012 anti-bullying poetry competition.
Continuing with the Olympic theme the winners of the poetry competition, organised as part of the conference, will be presented with their prizes by Paralympian and Hampshire County Council's Disability Sports Development Officer, Peter Hull. Peter, who was born without legs and with arms which end at the elbow, is an inspirational man. He is a swimming gold medallist and has taken part in the London Marathon six times. In 1991 he was awarded the MBE for his services to disability sport.
Building resilience creating cohesion
The overarching aim of the conference is to encourage young people to look at how they can address issues of bullying within their communities. The round table discussions and activities are designed to make them think about the impact of unkind behaviour on others and consider what next steps they can take in their own communities, in and out of school, to ensure that people treat each other with respect, tolerance and understanding.
The conference also aims to build confidence and resilience in children and young people to give them coping skills to manage the challenging behaviour of others. A session on cyberbullying led by two pupils from The Westgate School, Alex Dicker and Harry Elsmore, together with Pupil Support Worker Andy Hider, will show the young delegates how to keep themselves safe on the internet. The two teenagers have been carrying out research into cyberbullying and looking at the impact of unkind and abusive postings. "We are hoping to educate young people to take responsibility and use the resources available to stand up against bullies and be safe online," said Alex.
Commenting on the conference Councillor Roy Perry, Hampshire County Council's Executive Lead member for Children's Services said:
"Sadly bullying is something which can be encountered in all walks of life and we, as a County Council, want to equip young people and our schools with mechanisms and strategies with which they can tackle it.
"Our schools already have access to a range of specialist curriculum support to help encourage pupils to treat one another kindly and respectfully. With the increasing trend for people to communicate through digital and online technology, the session led by pupils from The Westgate on cyberbullying and how to use the internet safely and responsibly is very timely. I think people can forget the impact cruel and unkind words used on social networking sites can have, as they can feel quite distant from the consequences of posting such things.
"The success of this conference lies in children, young people and the adults attending going back to their schools and wider communities and putting into practice what they have learned from the exchange of ideas and experiences at the conference."