CaptureA nine year old Gateshead pupil has won a competition to name a panda that is at the forefront of a North East anti-bullying campaign.

Chloe Little from Carr Hill Community Primary School came up with the idea to name the panda ‘Buddy’.

Campaign organisers at The Education Network launched the initiative to support local schools in the battle to stamp out bullying behaviour.  The Education Network, which has 15 offices nationwide, including five in the North East, invited schools to submit suggestions to name their anti-bullying panda mascot.   Buddy is now available to make school visits, either to assist with raising awareness of bullying or to reward children for their good work and behaviour.

Clint McKellar, primary schools consultant at The Education Network, explains: “The challenge for schools to tackle bullying isn’t going away. Statistics from the Anti-bullying Alliance show that one in 10 children have reported being bullied, 44% have witnessed another pupil being bullied in the last 12 months, more than two million worry about bullying and nearly a quarter of them don’t tell anyone if they are being bullied.

“These figures are damning and sadly bullying is a problem which will probably always exist in some form. However it is our aim to work with all of our partner schools in the area to raise awareness, share best practice and reduce its prevalence and impact through our national anti-bullying initiative in 2016.”

A judging panel of Education Network staff and supply teachers considered 179 entries from schools as widespread as Berwick and Durham before choosing Chloe as their winner.

Chloe chose Buddy because “buddies look after each other and never bully and having a buddy is something everyone should have in school.”

As winner of the competition Chloe receives a Kindle HD Fire and Carr Hill Community Primary School receives a choice of prizes up to £400.

Miss Ford, learning support assistant at the school, said: “The children absolutely loved being involved in this competition and put so much effort into it.  At Carr Hill we are all friends working together and we are united in standing up and saying no to bullies.”

The official naming of the panda was revealed at a school assembly to the delight of Carr Hill Community Primary’s 365 pupils.  Schools looking for a free assembly visit from ‘Buddy’ should contact The Education Network on 0191 232 3780.

The Education Network specialises in recruiting teachers, teaching assistants, nursery nurse staff and SEN specialists for schools and colleges across the UK