Anti-Bullying Week 2019

The theme for this year’s Anti-Bullying week is ‘Change starts with us’. It echoes the Michael Jackson song, ‘Man in the Mirror’, urging us to reflect and take responsibility for the way we treat one another in order to make the world a better place. Whilst the day is focused on schools and students, this theme is a reminder that it really starts with the management, leadership, teachers and role models – much of the time these are all one and the same... 

So, we asked our role models how they focus on making small changes which result in big differences. 

Deputy Principal Patrick Horner began by establishing how bullying is prevalent in all schools, and so the starting point is addressing that it is a concern to be managed and educated against. “What we do at Ark Boulton is make a very firm pledge to students and parents that if bullying takes place it is addressed immediately and effectively. This is not just with the initial incident, but we put our full efforts into breaking the cycle moving forward. We teach the victim of bullying that the bully has no power, and we examine the motivations of the perpetrator which usually revolve around self-esteem and communication issues.”  

He also explained that students need to understand what the definition of bullying is. “Bullying is very serious and by oversimplifying or overusing the word, we take away the seriousness from those that are the victims of bullying.” 

“We’re a fast-moving school with high expectations of all our students and ourselves. However, our priority is to treat everyone with ‘unconditional positive regard’, meaning that we always assume the best. We have very clear guidance about what is or is not ok, and emphasise positive behaviours, virtues and characteristics. In order to do this, we as leaders have a responsibility to do the same with those we lead and manage. We always assume the best and if something is not working well that the individual just does not know or needs support. We therefore have the responsibility to model what we require, support them and create the conditions for them to be successful.” 

Jessica Cooper, a Student Support Leader echoed the type of relationships the teachers demonstrate, “Regardless of our differences – be that, department, gender or race – we show the students positive relationships and friendships. This might be through high-fives, handshakes, hugs or positive smiles and laughter.”  

She went on to comment on the importance of reflection while describing the school’s strong values such as kindness, respect and love which counter these negative behaviours. “I try and teach our students to think about what they are saying and doing. If they were in the shoes of the child, they are doing this to, would that frustrate or upset them? It tends to be a pin-drop moment when they realise that they wouldn’t like it.” 

We thank the leadership, teachers and students at Ark Boulton for continuing to nurture this positive environment.