National Anti-Bullying Week

Bullying is something many of the young people in our schools programmes have experienced, whether they have been on the receiving end or bullying others themselves. Issues surrounding bullying and conflict with peers regularly form the basis of our one-to-one mentoring sessions with young people and we often use mediation when this occurs between young people in our groups.

At School of Hard Knocks we work hard to teach our young people about the impact of words and actions on other people. This is taught in our indoor and team rugby sessions as well as in our one-to-ones with young people. As part of National Anti-Bullying Week, this week in Scotland we are delivering sessions designed to  encourage young people to reflect on the impact of the words and actions they direct towards others. In these session, young people are asked to anonymously write down what they’ve called another person that day or swear words that they’ve directed at another individual. In our group discussion, they are asked to reflect on why they’ve said it and how the other person may feel. We also encourage young people to recognise the power of a kind word or compliment to a peer through sessions where young people reflect on and directly tell their peers all the things they admire about them and reflect on how they feel giving and receiving kind words. 

We are always looking for new and fresh ways to deliver this message. At the moment, we are developing a session around Jessie Nelson’s recent documentary on her experience of cyber bullying. We also embed the message in the context of rugby coaching too. As staff we tackle, and encourage the team to tackle, young people using negative words or phrases about team mates and focus on developing training sessions that instil a strong sense of teamwork. Staff are also dedicated to modelling kindness and respect to young people and each other, to inspire young people to follow our lead.