26 February 2010

A new generation of aspiring songwriters will be spearheading the county’s fight against bullying having been shortlisted for the finals of a song writing competition taking place next week (TUES 1 MAR).

From traditional ballads and pop to hip hop and rap, the ten acts will be competing in an X-Factor style contest to have their original song chosen as the theme of Northamptonshire’s anti-bullying drive.

The winning song will be recorded in a professional recording studio and together with accompanying teaching materials will be distributed to all schools, clubs and organisations for children and young people across Northamptonshire.

Councillor Andrew Grant, Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Concerns about bullying is a recurring theme when we talk to children and young people about the issues that affect them.

“The young people taking part in the anti-bullying song writing competition are discovering they have the power make change happen by using their talent to positively influence other children and adults.

“Competition organisers have had the task of choosing only 10 acts from the 93 entrants to make it through to the final. Judging from the feedback I’ve had, it sounds like it was quite a difficult task because of the quality of the actual performances and the songs they had composed.”

A total of 65 young people make up the final ten entrants, from soloists to a 13-strong group act, and contestants range in age from nine years to 15.

Represented in the final are:

  • Abington Vale Primary School (with two entries)
  • Abington Vale Rock School
  • Alliance of Black Children’s Holiday Club
  • Bridgewater Primary School
  • The Ferrers School
  • Lings Primary School
  • Rowan Gate Primary School
  • St Brendans Catholic Primary School
  • Weavers School

The song writing competition has been organised as part of the Northamptonshire anti-bullying strategy launched by the Northamptonshire Children and Young People’s Partnership last summer with the aim of eradicating or greatly reducing bullying in all services aligned to the partnership and used by children and young people.

Since the launch, significant progress has taken place including the development of a new anti-bullying web page and information material as well as training for selected young people in how to influence adults back in their schools to develop their ideas for anti-bullying projects.

In addition, 65 schools have signed up to the accreditation programme whereby their commitment and performance towards tackling bullying will result in the award of a bronze, silver or gold standard.

A key principle underpinning the strategy is that its development must be led by children and young people if it is to be truly effective in tackling bullying and promoting positive, caring behaviour.

Additional information:

Bullying can have long term effects on victims’ confidence, self esteem, social and emotional development and mental health. It can impact their ability to learn, achieve and participate in school and other activities.

The key objectives of the anti-bullying strategy for all schools and children’s services in Northamptonshire are:

  • To reduce the frequency of bullying incidents
  • To increase the likelihood that incidents are disclosed to responsible adults or appropriately trained young people
  • To intervene effectively when bullying happens, including restorative approaches
  • To provide support to parents in recognising the symptoms of bullying and the support available to help them protect their children
  • To promote pro-social, caring behaviour, and improve the mental health of children and young people, building inner strengths, assertiveness, resilience and coping strategies
  • To help schools and partner agencies to meet performance standards and targets, attendance, achievement and improved behaviour and to help to achieve Every Child Matters outcomes
  • To develop and implement an interagency model of effective intervention which can be applied in other areas, nationally and internationally

Schools have been invited to become involved in the accreditation programme, and those with sufficiently developed practices will be recognised with an award. The experience of accredited schools will be used to support the roll out of the programme to all schools and services in the county.

The strategy will ensure that data on bullying is collected from all participating schools, educational establishments and services used by children and young people, and analysed to establish baselines and trends.

Training packs will be developed, and monitoring processes agreed and implemented in all the partner organisations.

Information from children and young people, both quantitative and qualitative, will also be used to appraise outcomes. Children and young people will participate in the appraisal process.