Students at a town school have won national recognition for their anti-bullying work.
Young people from South Shields School, who have virtually eradicated bullying by creating a zero tolerance culture, have collected the Diana Award, a national accolade for tackling the issues head on.
The school has also adopted a panda mascot who makes regular appearances to keep the issue at the forefront of staff and students’ minds.
Ambassadors have been specially trained to help any potential victims of bullying, who are proving to be more willing to open up to their peers than to adults.
Jessica Kirkaldy, 15, said: “There are 15 of us involved directly with the scheme, but what we are doing has spread throughout the school creating a culture where any bullying will not be tolerated.”
Teenager, Max Roberts, said: “There really isn’t very much bullying at all. Where teachers might not hear about incidents, students certainly will and we can take suitable action to make it stop.”
Creating a culture where any bullying will not be toleratedJessica Kirkaldy
Assemblies have been held on the subject to make it clear what constitutes bullying behaviour and there have been powerpoints, posters, monitoring and student logs.
Peter Millet, 12, said the initiative has helped him settle into his new school, he said: “When I was having some trouble at the beginning the ambassadors intervened and now I feel much more part of the family.”
Kim Symington, Head of Year 8 and 9 and anti-bullying co-ordinator, said: “Bullying can affect people all their lives and now our students are equipped to step in – not be bystanders – to show it is unacceptable.”