01 March 2011

A new generation of aspiring songwriters will be spearheading the county’s fight against bullying having been shortlisted for the finals of a songwriting competition taking place tomorrow (WED 2 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: “The response to the competition has been wonderful and it’s heartening to see our young people so determined to spread the anti-bullying message.

“Competition organisers have had the task of choosing only 10 acts from the 86 entrants to make it through to the final so everyone making it this far should be really proud of themselves now matter what the outcome of the contest.”

The judging panel for the competition includes Paul Burnett, director of children and young people at Northamptonshire County Council; Paul Parker, Music College Director at Northampton School for Girls; Mark Kelly, keyboard player and co-writer with the band Marillion; Phil Houston, Youth Development Director at Northamptonshire Association of Youth Clubs; Lucy Pullin, lead singer with The Fire Escapes; and sixth-form student Demi Sheppey who attends Weavers School, in Wellingborough.

As well as the competition entrants, there will also be a performance from 18-year-old Rachel Furner who will be releasing her debut album later this year having previously toured with Paolo Nutini, Pixie Lott, Justin Bieber and Razorlight.

A total of 65 young people make up the final ten entrants, from duets to group acts.

Represented in the final are:

  • St Brendans Catholic Primary School
  • Rothwell Junior School
  • Abington Vale Primary School
  • Bridgewater Primary School
  • Rushden Community College
  • Ferrers School
  • Latimer Arts College
  • Thomas Becket School
  • Northamptonshire County Council music and performing arts service's Kettering Music Centre

The competition has been organised as part of the Northamptonshire Anti-Bullying Strategy on behalf of the Northamptonshire Children and Young People’s Partnership and the Notivate signer/songwriter programme led by John Bowman.

The song writing competition was organised as part of the Northamptonshire anti-bullying strategy launched by the Northamptonshire Children and Young People’s Partnership 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 strategy was launched, significant progress has taken place including the development of a new anti-bullying web page and information material, training for selected young people in how to influence adults back in their schools to develop their ideas for anti-bullying projects and the development of a schools 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