OUTSTANDING WORK TO PREVENT BULLYING in schools and community settings has been highlighted at an annual event.

The sixth annual Anti-Bullying Celebration Event was held in the Council Chamber with delegates invited from every school and youth organisation in the city.

The event was hosted by the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Alan Emerson and Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, Councillor Louise Farthing.

Delegates listened to a number of presentations about individual anti-bullying projects in schools, work by independent charity Sunderland People First and an overview of how the anti-bullying strategy has worked across the city over the last twelve months from Mark Lloyd at external consultants Knetic Education.

Prior to the event, schools and youth organisations are also asked to nominate anti-bullying teams and initiatives which they think have achieved the most over the last twelve last twelve months, with the winners in a number of categories announced and a presentation of awards.

The event is held annually to promote the work of the Sunderland Anti-Bullying Strategy Group and recognise the continuing contribution made by schools, young people and families to introduce, maintain and develop prevention measures such as the Anti-Bullying Chartermark across the city.

This includes an annual competition for pupils and schools to design posters, artwork and classroom activities to raise awareness of bullying in various forms and the help, support and advice that’s available.

This year’s theme was to write a poem, using young people’s creative writing talents to describe the loneliness, vulnerability and fear experienced by the victims of bullying and their need for help and support from their classmates, teachers and families.

The event also recognises the efforts of primary, junior and secondary schools who have demonstrated innovative, collaborative or particularly successful approaches to put anti-bullying measures in place.

Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, Councillor Louise Farthing said: “Bullying is a national issue, and we all need to be aware of what’s going on to be able to do something about it.

“Our approach in Sunderland is led by families and young people themselves, who suggest how they’d like to see things done.

“Our annual competition is a great way to generate new ideas and approaches, and this presentation event is our chance to recognise and celebrate their contribution.”

Winners in the poetry competition were Charlie Thompson from East Herrington school in the primary/junior section, and Ashlie Whelan from Monkwearmouth School in the secondary school section.

Other winners included;
Most innovative anti-bullying team.
Primary – Hillview Juniors; For using innovative ways to raise awareness of bullying such as a balloon release, garden displays, rapping and competitions.

Whole school approach to cyber safety.
Primary -Wessington; A proactive approach to cyber safety delivered at a school assembly to pupils, parents and carers. Pupils also designed a ‘safety street display’ allowing every child in the school to learn from the interactive displays on the dangers of online gaming and how to stay safe on line.

Secondary – Washington; Developed short films on cyber safety which were delivered during National cyber safety week in February.

– Anti-bullying team that has made links with the community.

Primary – Eppleton; Have developed a parent Anti-bullying ambassadors group that work along with the children to present anti-bullying assemblies and class talks with primary role of getting message out into the community. This includes running weekly  drop-in sessions/ coffee mornings for parents where anyone who needs support can be given the right advice or signposted to the appropriate person or agency.  ​​​​​

​Secondary – St Aidans; The very proactive anti-bullying team have worked closely with parents and the community resulting in a 14 strong parent anti-bullying team who are using their strengths and expertise to look at introducing conflict resolution techniques into school.  The team also work in numerous primary schools during transition to support new entrants into school.

– School that has shown commitment to celebrating difference. 

Primary – Usworth Colliery; Providing pupils with many opportunities to learn about different cultures, faiths and beliefs. Pupils are encouraged to respect and celebrate difference. The library has a range of books reflecting the diversity, with different types of families promoted through a scheme of work in PHSE.

Secondary –  Monument View Children’s group;  Creating an ethos within the home among young people and staff alike, where everybody feels safe to express themselves as individuals, and can present their opinions without fear of discrimination.

Cllr Farthing added: “What makes this annual event so special is the fact that it celebrates the lead that young people are taking in their schools to prevent bullying.

“They help us by identifying what might encourage this sort of anti-social behaviour in the first place, and then getting together to stop that happening by raising awareness of the terrible impact bullying can have on a friend or classmate.”