Anti-Bullying Week, the national awareness campaign, has been given the Quaker treatment courtesy of Bootham Junior School in York and Sibford School in Banbury.
Bootham Headteacher, Helen Todd, explained, “The Quakers have a saying that in life we should aim to ‘walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone’. And so if we see God, or the good, in everyone then we are all of worth and we should celebrate the worth rather than ridicule the differences. Bullying starts from fear of that which is different. During National Anti-bullying Week we are going to actively encourage everyone to celebrate what makes each of us different, special and unique. Thursday will be off-timetable with pupils dressed according to their personality, their attributes and their talents, with cross-age group activities rather than the normal lessons.”
Over in Banbury Maggie Guy, Sibford Deputy Head comments: “We tend to flip the idea of anti-bullying around and look at what we want - respectful behaviour. The Quaker view of respect is an easy concept for all pupils to sign up to; ultimately we must lead and trust our pupils to respect each other. We want them to be ‘examples and patterns’ in their lives. Our pupils tell us that they feel they can genuinely be themselves without fear of being bullied or left out. They speak about a sense of community and friendliness where all are valued. Our pupils’ tolerance and generosity of spirit makes our schools places of warmth where pupils thrive. We are not a school where belonging to a certain group is necessary for survival and friendship.”
Anti-Bullying Week, which this year was held 17-21 November 2014, is a campaign from the Anti-Bullying Alliance who were set up by the NSPCC and the National Children’s Bureau. The campaign started over 10 years ago to raise the profile of the issue of bullying. This year thousands of schools and colleges across the country took part in Anti-Bullying Week to ‘stop bullying for all.’