Using a national campaign as a focus for PSE
One primary school integrated Anti-Bullying Week activities which promoted emotional well-being into the school’s PSE programme. Learners explored what bullying meant to them and were asked to think of five things they would not want a friend to do to them, then five things they would never do to a friend. Through small group discussions every learner contributed their personal opinions. This thinking skills approach used the negative to highlight the positive. By asking about things they would not want someone to do to them, and to identify things they should not do to others, it was easier to focus on positive behaviour. Learners quickly realised that the two lists were virtually identical which triggered a whole class debate about relationships and how to treat other people. Learners used their findings to create posters to encourage friendship and mutual respect, and to explain that it is a right to be safe. They reflected on their work in terms of the rights of the individual and the rights of others. Each class produced their own list of human rights which was displayed in the school hall. Parents and members of the local community were invited to come and see the display during Anti–Bullying Week. Finally everyone wrote positive statements about other learners in their class. These were compiled by the teacher and presented to each individual.
The school council also decided to consult with learners about bullying. During PSE time each learner was asked to think of one idea to tackle bullying which they wrote down on a piece of paper. The school council collated the answers and used diamond ranking to prioritise the ideas. The suggestions were discussed, written up and presented to the head teacher. As a result the school introduced new playground rules, friendship stops and a buddy bench. Also, to encourage learners to take a more active role in promoting positive behaviour, Year 6 volunteers received training as peer supporters. This has helped to reduce bullying and to resolve conflict on the playground and has provided further opportunities for learners to take responsibility and participate in school life. Lunchtime supervisors were also made aware of the new playground rules, received training to encourage cooperative play and used stickers to reward good behaviour.
Links with the PSE framework
Learners were given opportunities to work with others to:
- work cooperatively to solve problems
- make and maintain friendships and other relationships
- resist unwanted peer pressure and behaviour
- empathise with others' experiences and feelings
- manage different emotions and develop strategies to resolve conflict and deal with bullying.
Learners were also given opportunities to develop their thinking skills:
- use appropriate techniques for personal reflection.
This work contributed to the Health and emotional well-being, Moral and spiritual development and Active citizenship themes. Learners were given opportunities to:
- feel positive about themselves and be sensitive towards the feelings of others
- explore their personal values
- develop respect for themselves and others
- value families and friends as a source of mutual support
- participate in school life.
They were also given opportunities to understand:
- the range of their own and others' feelings and emotions
- that personal actions have consequences.
The school intends to build on the success of this approach to develop a transition project in which Year 6 pupils create a short assembly presentation explaining their concerns about bullying which will be performed to peer counsellors from the secondary school.
The school also hopes to gain recognition for their work on bullying and human rights by applying for a national Impetus Award.