A new anti-bullying programme is being rolled out across Bedfordshire this autumn, in a new partnership aiming to tackle the issue of bullying in schools.
The Rise Above Project aims to help young people understand what bullying is, including its impact and consequences, while equipping them with skills to increase their safety. The project is funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire and is being co-delivered by the St Giles Trust and Hear2Listen.
The start of the new school year, when classes are being reassembled and roles are being reassigned, is a particularly challenging time for schools. National government research released in March this year1 reported 1 in 5 secondary pupils had been bullied. Pupils in years 7-9 were more likely to say they had been bullied (21%-23%) than those in year 10 or year 11 (17% and 18% respectively).
Young people are being supported through special assemblies, longer preventative sessions and direct mentoring sessions.
Preventative assemblies have already been delivered to students in Year 7 and 8 in schools across the region, focussing on bullying, peer pressure and the pitfalls of social media and how they can lead to exploitation and violence.
Preventative sessions will be delivered this term by facilitators with lived experience of youth exploitation. These will draw on this experience to demonstrate examples of the consequences of bullying, and how it can lead to violence. Schools will also benefit from a mediation service when a specialist mentor can come to the school to provide a one-to-one service.
Carly Mason, St Giles East of England Manager, said: “These vital interventions will help helps schools to tackle bullying taking place both online and face to face. We know that bullying has a significant impact on a child’s life and this can last well into adulthood, with adults who were bullied as children being more likely to experience a range of mental health issues, earn less money and leave school with no qualifications”.
Festus Akinbusoye, Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire, said: “We know that bullying and fear of the type of violence that comes with bullying are contributing factors to everything in young people from low self-esteem to carrying knives.
“It is clear to me that if we want to tackle the cases of serious violence in society today, we need to get to the root causes of these.
“In my view, bullying in the home, at school, in relationships and certainly in the workplace must be called out and stamped out.
“I am delighted to be able to fund this project and thank St Giles Trust for the positive changes they are looking to make.”