Coatbridge High School hosts respectme’s first ‘Campaign Café’ event

During Anti-Bullying Week 2019, respectme celebrated the launch of ‘Change Starts With Us’ by holding the first in a series of anti-bullying workshops for schools.

Pupils and staff from Coatbridge High School at the Campaign Cafe.

Pupils and staff from twelve surrounding schools came together at Coatbridge High School to learn from each other, share practice and plan their anti-bullying work for the year ahead. The day’s activities were focused around respectme’s ‘Change Starts With Us’ campaign toolkit, and featured a beautiful musical performance, art displays and a poignant drama production from Coatbridge High School.

By the end of the day, attending schools had each developed an anti-bullying plan to take back to their peers. Here are some of those plans and the discussions they sparked…

The Tree of Understanding

Before beginning a campaign, it is important that everyone has the same understanding of the subject. The Tree of Understanding exercise is a great way to spark these discussions and set out a clear picture of an issue.

The trunk of the tree represents the main issue: bullying. The roots represent ‘where bullying comes from’, the branches: ‘what bullying looks like’ and the leaves: ‘the impact bullying has’. After discussing each of these aspects, pupils wrote key words on post-it notes and attached them to a life-sized, papier-mâché tree (provided by Coatbridge High School Art Department). Common words and phrases on the tree included:

  • Trunk (type): verbal, emotional, physical, face-to-face, online
  • Roots (where bullying comes from): peer pressure, jealousy, experience of being bullied, fear of being bullied, ignorance of other people’s feelings, lack of self-confidence, prejudice (racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexist etc.)
  • Branches (what bullying looks like): name calling, spreading rumours, excluding people, threatening people over the phone or in group chats
  • Leaves (impact): isolation, fear, self-harm, suicide, negative mental health (anxiety, depression, stress), anti-social behaviour or aggression (at home, with friends and in school), lack of self-confidence, lack of motivation

Anti-bullying plans for the year

After setting out a clear idea of bullying, pupils worked in their school groups to create an anti-bullying ‘plan’ for the year ahead. Working from guidance in our campaign toolkit, they focused on three central tasks:

  • What is your anti-bullying vision?
  • What are your anti-bullying goals?
  • Write an ‘elevator pitch’ to summarise your plans for other attendees

‘Change Starts With…’ templates

During lunch, pupils were asked to fill out ‘Change Starts With…’ templates, which aim to spark conversations about the power of small changes. Pupils said Change Starts With…’respect’, ‘kindness’, ‘bravery’, ‘loving yourself and others’, ‘understanding’, ‘confidence’, ‘being a friend’, ‘a conversation’, ‘determination’, and ‘standing up for others’.

Spotlights: sharing your plans

After lunch, pupils were asked to present their elevator pitches to the rest of the attendees. Pupil’s visions included:

  • To improve learning around, and solutions to, the issue of bullying
  • To reduce bullying as much as possible and soften the impact it has on others
  • To motivate young people in our school to stand up for each other
  • To create a school with a positive atmosphere and a strong sense of community

And their anti-bullying goals included:

  • Encourage more extensive training for teachers to help support those experiencing online and face-to-face bullying
  • Re-orientating our school values, putting respect and tolerance above ambition
  • Support young people to talk about bullying through the creation of anti-bullying ambassadors and safe spaces
  • Review and update our anti-bullying policy
  • Create a ‘Mental Health Awareness and Bullying’ Hub run by senior pupils with the support of guidance staff
  • Begin a lunchtime club for young people who don’t have anywhere else to go

The young people were then given the opportunity to visit different ‘information stations’ to learn more about their favourite ideas from the pitches.

What’s next?

We are now eager to share how these anti-bullying plans are being delivered by the pupils who attended. Keep a look out on the Supporter Story section of our website for updates on how delivery went!

Would you like to hold a #ChangeStartsWithUs Campaign Café at your school or youth group? Contact for more information.