We are delighted to announce that Gryffe High School in Renfrewshire has been awarded respectme’s first ever ‘Change Starts With Us’ award for exceptional youth-led anti-bullying work. The school will be awarded £250 to continue and/or develop future anti-bullying work. Here’s some of the impressive work pupils have led at the school over the last year…
Gryffe High School’s ‘whole school, pupil-led’ approach to wellbeing is delivered largely by ‘Wellbeing Ambassadors’, who are responsible for supporting and educating pupils and staff on wellbeing and anti-bullying. Ambassadors present at all year group assemblies and they use their insight to inform the school’s wellbeing focus for the year ahead. This year, Ambassadors chose the theme of ‘equality and inclusion’ with a specific focus on LGBT rights.
Building inclusion into school events
Each year, the school holds ‘Gryffe Styles Week’ during which all subjects focus on health and wellbeing. The week ends with a 3K Fun Run for all local primaries, pupils, and staff. In 2019, this was renamed ‘The Pride Run’ with all donations going to LGBT Youth Scotland – a charity decided on by the pupils. At Halloween, S6 pupils encouraged peers to ‘Dress up & Donate’ to LGBT Youth Scotland, and during the S1 Health Day, Wellbeing Ambassadors developed and delivered lessons on LGBT Rights, along with a lesson on ‘Bullying and Behaviour’.
Following the charity success, representatives from the Pupil Management Group contacted LGBT Youth Scotland about their LGBT Charter – a programme enabling organisations to proactively become as inclusive as possible. The local authority were already in agreement with LGBT Youth Scotland to invest in the Charter, so initial meetings were held at Gryffe High School. The school continues to work towards the Gold and Silver levels of the Charter.
Anti-Bullying Policy & Pledge
In line with feedback from their peers, the Wellbeing Ambassadors worked together to reshape the school’s anti-bullying policy into a more child-friendly document, and to develop an anti-bullying pledge. Ambassadors then delivered anti-bullying training to staff and used this as an opportunity to consult with them on the final policy document.
‘Thank You’ cards during Anti-Bullying Week 2019
Pupils decided on the theme of ‘Equality & Kindness’ for National Anti-Bullying week. One pupil commented: “We have always focused on the negative behaviour when it comes to bullying by telling people not to behave that way, why don’t we focus on what we actually want and that is being kind to each other!” Following this, ‘Thank You’ cards were provided to all pupils to write words of kindness to fellow pupils or staff, then were then delivered to classes throughout the week. The initiative was so successful that it was run again the week before Christmas – this time with Santa and his elves delivering cards!
Pupils at Gryffe have stated that they are more comfortable discussing bullying behaviour with peers. In response, a core group of S6 Ambassadors attend the Support Department throughout the day in case incidents of bullying arise. These individuals are trained on wellbeing support, anti-bullying, and child protection.
Development of an ‘anti-bullying app’
One Wellbeing Ambassador also attends the school’s extracurricular club ‘Digital Ninjas’ and together with fellow group members has entered the #DigiInventors competition by designing a phone app that supports pupils through bullying and mental health related issues. The group has successfully made the finals however these has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pupil Ambassadors asked Senior Management to revise the existing school achievement system of ‘Ethos tokens’ to better encourage school values. Senior Management agreed and ‘Caring tokens’ were created. Previously, tokens were provided for curricular, extra-curricular and ethos achievement. Now, tokens are awarded for Caring, Learning and Achieving.
With the help of the CSWU Award prize money, Gryffe High School pupils plan to create a daily ‘Wellbeing’ centre in an unused area of the canteen. The area will signpost various support organisations and provide a safe space to ask questions. During lock down, this space will be implemented virtually as a Google Classroom, where all pupils can access lessons, activities and online chats. There will also be a ‘live’ class during which pupils can ask anonymous questions to pupil Wellbeing Ambassadors and teachers. The first lesson will be aimed at supporting P7 pupils through transition.
Pupils also intend to continue their promotion of LGBT rights, focus on developing their idea for an anti-bullying app, and develop an anti-bullying logo for their group.
Has Gryffe High School inspired you to share your #ChangeStartsWithUs journey so far? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us about it!