Buddies help beat bullying
Friday, 19 October 2012
More than 75 young people gathered in Winchester for an anti-bullying conference organised by Hampshire County Council and themed around the seven Olympic ideals
As well as enabling young people to take back ideas to their communities to tackle bullying the event, at the County Council headquarters, was also a celebration of what young people have already done to raise awareness to bullying and how to beat it.
In the run-up to the conference young people were invited to take part in a poetry competition. Fourteen winners representing all three phases of education, from primary through to post 16 colleges, collected their certificates from Peter Hull MBE, a paralympic gold medallist and Disability Sports development officer at Hampshire County Council.
Also collecting an award on behalf of the Bay House Buddies was Natasha Barker. The school was awarded the Make It Count award, an award for community projects making a difference to help combat bullying. Natasha is part of a 12-strong team of older pupils from Bay House School who make up the Buddies. The Buddies act as peer mentors supporting younger pupils in the school. They were inspired by the Anti-Bullying Conference last year and went back to their school and organised a meeting with the head teacher and senior staff. Following that, they redesigned the Buddies page on the school website to give pupils more information about bullying and how to get help. They also organised a poster competition and collected entries for the poetry competition which was run alongside this year's conference.
After collecting the prize of book tokens for the school and certificates for the Buddies, Natasha who is now in year 11 and studying hard for her GCSEs said:
"I think I speak for all the Bay House Buddies, when I say that this award was an amazing surprise, we all enjoyed helping in the year seven tutor groups."
Presentations and round table discussions at the conference examined five key themes: cyberbullying; religious bullying; exclusion due to disability; fear and hate crime including homophobic bullying; and defeat doubt - building resilience. Two pupils from the Westgate School in Winchester, presented their research into cyberbullying and gave the delegates information about how to use the internet safely.
Commenting Councillor Roy Perry, Hampshire County Council's Executive Lead member for Children's Services said:
"I congratulate all the young people attending this conference. They are clearly committed to tackling bullying in the communities and taking what they have learned back to the schools to communicate the message further that bullying of any kind is not acceptable and that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and understanding."