This week marked Anti-Bullying Week, and as such, schools across the North East celebrated the occasion by MAKING NOISE and… WEARING ODD SOCKS?
If you somehow managed to miss this memo, hang on, we’ll explain.
Odd Socks Day, which fell on Monday 13 and marked the beginning of Anti-Bullying Week, is a national event all about celebrating what makes someone unique.
Organised by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, which is a group of organisations, charities and individuals who work together to try and stop bullying, pupils and adults across the country were encouraged to wear odd socks and get creative in ways to raise awareness of bullying.
It’s been incredible to see so many of our region’s schools make an effort to make a noise about an issue that’s in desperate need of a solution.
We need to stamp out bullying, together
We need to make sure our region’s schools are a safe, enjoyable space for both pupils and staff. If bullying continues to grow out of control, this crucial goal will get further and further away from our grasp.
Cases of bullying in schools have a direct impact on mental health and attendance – two very huge problems we battle with often in North East Schools.
Research from the Department for Education, looking at pupils in year 10, found that:
- 40% of young people were bullied in the last 12 months
- 24% of children bullied most days also most likely to be kept off school by their parents
- 15% of children who had experienced bullying daily had been excluded from school in the last 12 months (compared to 5% of children not bullied)
- 1 in 4 young people with SEN (special educational needs) experienced violence (actual or threatened)
These are frightening statistics that we must work together to improve. To lessen and eventually stop cases of bullying, we need our schools to be taking part in events like Anti-Bullying Week.
Odd Socks Day and so much more
Thousands of children across the North East had a hop in their step as they took part in Odd Socks Day on Monday.
The team at Schools North East also took part, although for some of us, wearing odd socks is a natural occurrence anyway! Don’t worry, we won’t name any names… (one begins with an S and ends with an N).
To really make the most of the occasion, and to highlight the fundamental importance of anti-bullying, some of our region’s schools went as far as to create a whole agenda of activities!
Chorister School, based in Durham, took part in Odd Socks Day on Monday, and spent the rest of the week continuing to acknowledge anti-bullying with a Buddy Lunch at Cathedral Site on Tuesday, individual form activities on Wednesday, and on Thursday, an anti-bullying poster competition!
Newcastle High School for Girls, a Schools North East Partner School, also went to great lengths to mark Anti-Bullying Week. As well as Odd Socks Day, classes discussed ‘banter vs bullying’ during form time, and took part in an incredibly wholesome activity…
On an outline of a hand, pupils were encouraged to think about ways they can stop bullying in schools, and write their important suggestions on the sheet. From there, the hands were joined together in a circle to show that they’re standing together against bullying, before displaying the heartfelt gesture in the window of the dining room.
Similarly, Crooksbarn Primary School, another Partner School based in Stockton-on-Tees, were very excited to be celebrating such an important week for another year. As well as participating in Odd Socks Day, they got involved in a wide range of powerful, relevant activities throughout the week.
One exciting project in particular involved pupils decorating megaphones with positive messages and sharing these with other classes to fit this year's ‘Speak Out’ theme. How clever!
We should be MAKING A NOISE all year round
This week served as a great opportunity to raise awareness of bullying and the different ways we can prevent it from happening in our region’s schools… but it shouldn’t (and mustn’t) just stop there.
Anti–Bullying Week comes to an end today, Friday 17, but we should continue “making a noise” all year round.
We need to make our schools a safe space for our pupils to learn, grow, and develop; cases of bullying prevent this from happening – and not just for the victims of bullying.
To create a secure and happy environment free from threat and harassment, we need to stamp out bullying once and for all.