28 June 2011

A Northampton secondary school is celebrating becoming the first school in the county to achieve the highest accolade for tacking bullying.

Campion School in Bugbrooke has been awarded a gold award in recognition of its commitment and performance towards tackling bullying. It has become the first school in Northamptonshire to evidence that its anti-bullying work is embedded throughout the whole school community, with policy, procedures and practice understood and followed by all.

Kay Tunnicliff, anti-bullying lead at Campion School, said: “We are delighted to be the first and only school in the county to receive this award. Great credit goes to the student body who have backed all that we have done, the student anti-bullying group who have worked so hard this year and our Student Voice co-ordinator Hanna Begum.

“We have consulted with students, staff, governors and parents this year to improve our anti-bullying provision and the results have led our progression to this point. We’ve also linked with the local community through the village newsletters and our local community police officer.

“We are conscious of the fact that we always need to be working to reduce bullying in our school community and we intend to continue our drive to this end.”

Campion School is one of 96 schools and youth settings to sign up to the Northamptonshire anti-bullying accreditation programme which is a key priority of the county’s anti-bullying strategy.

Councillor Andrew Grant, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for children, learning and skills, said: “This is a fantastic achievement, both for Campion School and for the anti-bullying strategy. What Campion has demonstrated is that true commitment to addressing the issue involves everyone in the school.

“It’s all very well introducing great policies but the mark of a gold-standard winner is that the policies translate into practice and the anti-bullying ethos is embedded in the aspect of school life. Campion School has set the standard that we all need to aspire to.”

As part of the assessment process, two young people from the county’s Children and Young People’s Shadow Board carried out a site visit to verify the evidence submitted by the school on paper.

Samira Ali, age 15 and Devante Blackwell, age 14 interviewed the head teacher, governors, parents, teachers and students to asses the extent to which the whole school community had embedded its anti-bullying principles. The assessors were impressed by the variety and extent of the school’s anti-bullying provision and that the students verified all the strategies in place.

Samira said: "The amount of strategies to tackle bullying was amazing. Each student knew what to do about bullying and why it is wrong. I've never seen a school to ever have such an impact on the students. It was truly tremendous."

Devante said: “Something we didn’t really expect was the student’s information correlated so well with the teachers. All knew how to tackle bullying and what to do about it.”

The accreditation programme has four levels of awards and helps to promote opportunities for the whole school community to work in partnership to address issues around bullying.

The aim is for all schools, academies and settings in Northamptonshire to become involved in the programme and therefore evidencing to their wider communities that procedures and good practice are in place to ensure both adults and young people feel safe.

Background to the Northamptonshire Anti-Bullying Strategy:
The Northamptonshire anti-bullying strategy was launched in 2008 by the Northamptonshire Children & Young People’s Partnership with the aim of eradicating or greatly reducing bullying.

Since the launch, significant progress has taken place including the development of a new anti-bullying web pages 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, 96 Northamptonshire schools, academies and youth settings have signed up to the accreditation programme whereby their commitment and performance towards tackling bullying will result in the award of a foundation, 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.