Any pupil in the school who needs support, whether they are being bullied or they have another issue affecting their wellbeing, is able to seek help from someone their own age
Beatbullying is the UK’s leading bullying prevention charity, creating a world where bullying, violence and harassment are unacceptable. Beatbullying empowers people to understand, recognise, and say no to bullying, violence and harassment by giving them the tools to transform their lives and the lives of their peers. Working with families, schools, and communities to understand the problem, campaign for change and provide a sustainable efficient and proven solution.
Case study – Horbury School and Beatbullying CyberMentors
CyberMentors is a unique initiative from Beatbullying designed to tackle bullying and negative behaviour in schools and communities. Young people are trained to have the skills and experience to mentor and support their peers, both offline in their school or community, as well as online via a safe social networking site, cybermentors.org.uk – the world’s first online peer mentoring service for children and young people who are being bullied.
Since its launch in 2009, CyberMentors has been established in over 200 schools and colleges.
Twenty-five pupils from Horbury School in Wakefield were trained as CyberMentors in 2009. They received two days intensive training, delivered by Beatbullying’s team of experts, to gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to mentor other young people, both offline and online. Since then, the programme has been fully embedded into the school, and it continues to go from strength to strength, providing all pupils with a network of offline and online support. Any pupil in the school who needs support, whether they are being bullied or they have another issue affecting their wellbeing, is able to seek help from someone their own age – either face to face at a scheduled time during the day, or online if they’d prefer.
The Horbury CyberMentors say that their confidence has increased, they know and understand more about the issue of bullying, and they know how they can report it and deal with it effectively. A teacher at the school said: “Children are very happy participating in the programme. They are confident and keen to make positive contributions.”
However, not only has the programme benefitted those pupils who were trained as CyberMentors, the actions of the trained CyberMentors demonstrate the profound and extremely positive impact that the programme can have on an entire school. Online and offline, the Horbury CyberMentors have been able to provide support and advice for pupils who are being bullied, or who are worried about something and want to talk to someone who is not a teacher or their parents.
However, it is also a preventative programme; it helps to change the environment within a school, as students increasingly say “no” to bullying and take a stand against it. According to the Deputy Head teacher, CyberMentors has been an overwhelming success and has significantly reduced instances of bullying in the school. Elsewhere, CyberMentors is shown to reduce the number of exclusions, truancies and violent incidents in schools.
The CyberMentors at Horbury work hard to make sure as many people as possible can access the support that CyberMentors provides. They’ve spoken at conferences and in local schools about the programme and the impact it has had on their own school. They’ve created their own Facebook page and Twitter presence, where they keep everyone up to date with information and news about bullying and their work as CyberMentors, and they have won several national UK awards in recognition of their hard work and commitment to tackling bullying.
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