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School’s gold award for tackling bullying

Published on 12/10/18

Recognition from national organisation for leading the way

‘We’re leading the way in beating the bullies’ – that’s the message from Orchard School Bristol after being given recognition for tackling the issue.

Some bullying happens in every school but students at Orchard School have been proactive in working with staff to help make the Horfield academy as safe as possible for all.

Now they have received the gold award from the Anti-Bullying Alliance, a national organisation set up to recognise best practice, raise awareness and deliver training on the issue.

Orchard School Head of House Fergus O’Donovan, who has been supporting students along with colleague Alice Hinks, said: “Bullying wasn’t a huge issue here but we still wanted to do everything we could to reduce the possibility of even a single child feeling unsafe.

“We did an audit of students, asking them where they felt unsafe, if they had experienced bullying as an observer or a victim, and what sort of bullying went on.

“In many cases it was name calling and the school has done great work in recent years in raising the profile of the problems of cyber bullying.”

Mr O’Donovan helped create a group of students who act as go-betweens between staff and students, helping if there is a problem and reporting back.

As a result, the school now has tried and tested methods of dealing with issues, including staff and some students wearing distinctive ‘apple’ badges which show they have had some training in dealing with bullying

The school’s efforts have led to the Gold Award from the ABA.

Head teacher Julia Hinchliffe said: “No school is ever bullying-free but this is a safe school for students of all ages.

“In the event of an incident taking place, students know how to deal with it and we are able to get on top of things before they might escalate.

“Orchard School has a calm atmosphere and behaviour is good. Creating an environment of reassurance plays a big part.”

The Anti Bullying Alliance is ‘a unique coalition of organisations and individuals, working together to achieve our vision to: stop bullying and create safer environments in which children and young people can live, grow, play and learn’.