Principal’s Blog: Anti-Bullying Week

Next week is National Anti-Bullying Week. We will be working hard that week to promote all the initiatives we have in school to make sure that our students are safe, happy and secure. Read more.

For us every week is anti-bullying week, but that does not mean we never have any child who feels threatened or frightened at some point. In any large group of people there will always be some situations where children start to behave unreasonably towards one or another and, as a school, we have two roles: one, to stop anything we see or is reported to us as bullying and, secondly, to educate our children about how to get on with each other without causing some to feel isolated, left out or nervous.

Our definition of bullying is based on how an individual child feels. If a student reports that they ‘feel’ bullied, then we treat that as a case of bullying and will always investigate. Very often the student who is perceived as bullying is not aware of the consequences of their actions. Very often bullying in schools is around friendship groups. The friends from primary school get mixed in with new friends from other schools and, during Year 7 and Year 8, we spend a lot of time helping our students understand how isolating someone or calling them names to make them go away is wrong, rude and unacceptable to us. We also try to show them that “what goes around, comes around” and that by displaying bullying behaviour, they are more likely to be bullied themselves in the future.

We want and expect every one of our students to be happy at school. This is a passionate and deeply held value in every member of staff and we are prepared to work hard to achieve it. So, next week we will turn the spotlight on bullying behaviour, point out that every one of us is capable of bullying others but we choose not to do it and make sure that any student who is keeping quiet about how they feel is confident enough to talk to someone about it. It is often a very busy week for us as it does turn up some very quiet and insidious bullying going on that the victim has ignored or kept quiet about until now; our work next week gives them the confidence to come forward and confront the situation. Bullying is unacceptable in schools and in adult life and we are not prepared to tolerate it here.

We have had another great week this week at Penrice. There was a moving Remembrance Service and the whole school observed a two minute science where the students reflected on the sacrifices made by others now and in the last 100 years to keep this country safe. There are adults outside schools – and who often have no children of their own – who are very cynical about young people. To read the messages written on the Remembrance crosses around our St Pirans’ Cross makes you realise that even the youngest student understands the meaning of the words sacrifice, selflessness and quiet heroism. They are an inspirational group of young people to have in our school.