Many school children and Islanders wore odd socks today [Monday 15th November] to mark the start of anti-bullying week.
Odd Socks Day is a national event all about celebrating what makes someone unique and is organised by Anti-Bullying Alliance.
Information has been updated on the Department for Children, Young People, Education and Skills Learning at Home website to help parents to talk to their child about bullying and to know what to do to stop it.
In the Children and Young People Survey 2019, a quarter of students in Years 4, 6 and 8 said that they were bullied at school. Around one in three Year 4 students said that they were sometimes, often, or always afraid to go to school because of bullying.
Following these findings, the Children, Young People, Education and Skills Department (CYPES) have been working with schools, students and parents to address these concerning issues.
A new counter-bullying guide policy for schools was developed and published in 2019, along with child-friendly versions.
The Department’s Education and Psychology team provides training for schools and bespoke training for all staff, which is linked to evening events for parents and assemblies for students.
A psychological assessment tool has also been developed to help determine the underlying causes of bullying, including potential mental health issues.
Schools have designated counter-bullying leads with many students appointed as Anti-Bullying Ambassadors. Engagement continues with pupils, school councils and assemblies, as well as pupil and parent surveys to share information, raise awareness and provide help, advice and support.
The Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Scott Wickenden, said: “The Department continues to address bullying in schools and colleges. Counter-bullying strategies are a daily part of school life.
“There has also been an increase of well-being support available in schools, presented in engaging ways for pupils and ensuring that every child is aware of who they can speak to if they feel worried, and staff have had training so they are aware of the need to reach out when a child is showing signs of distress.
“Bullying can make children and young people feel threatened in terms of their physical and emotional safety at school or in the community. It is important for parents and carers to continue to have anti-bullying conversations at home.”
Jersey’s Children’s Commissioner Deborah McMillan added: “Bullying is a subject that crops up a lot in our conversations with children and young people, and we have seen some concerning statistics in the most recent Government survey, which further underlines the importance of addressing this.
“Children need to know where they can go to get help if they become victims of bullying, and it is vital that schools, in particular, continue to do all they can to ensure that this information is out there and accessible.
“It is also crucial that we continue to build on the solid foundations of the Rights Respecting Schools Award, which helps to give students the knowledge and confidence to speak out when they are being mistreated, whether in school or online.”
To help you and your child to talk about bullying and to know what to do log onto the Learning at Home website.