Anti-Bullying Week is a nationwide event, and we were proud to take part this week. It is a sad fact that many people experienced bullying at some point in their lives and it is a truism that those who bully others are seldom happy people themselves. We live in an age where we question more than ever our motivations and our preconceptions, and I believe that we are better placed than ever to look at how we treat one another. The focus in Assemblies this week was Anti-Bullying and celebrating individuality.
5S started the week presenting an Assembly for Odd Socks Day, which they kindly repeated for Pre-Prep on Wednesday. Odd socks are a metaphor for difference and diversity. When you look across our school community, no two people – children and adults – are the same. Beyond the wide range of physical characteristics and cultural backgrounds, we have a huge variety of talents and passions. The message “We are all different and all equal” is an important one, and St Christopher’s is a school where everyone can be themselves and celebrate what they are good at and who they are. A culture of kindness is promoted throughout the school; one of the many advantages of a school our size is that we really can all get to know each other and look out for each other.
Ms Laatz’s Assembly on Thursday for Middle and Upper School took an analytical approach to bullying. “Bullying” is a word that children are sometimes quick to use; we explored how ups and downs are natural in any relationship, and how to move on from them when friends fall out. Ms Laatz then presented the children with some scenarios. In each case we asked: Is it hurtful? Is it repetitive? Is it intentional? Is there a power imbalance? We looked at how sometimes we need more information before we can judge, but an answer of Yes to all four questions is a clear case of bullying. We then looked at how bullying is not a simple case of bully and victim, and how those bystanders who affirm or promote unkind behaviour can make different choices that remove power from the ringleader. Everyone has a part to play in spotting and speaking up against unkind behaviour and bullying.
I really do think that modern children, including St Christopher’s pupils, are very aware of how socially unacceptable bullying is. This is partly because of the excellent PSHE lessons and Assemblies they participate in at school, but other lessons also incorporate moral values and our duties to others. Also, the people around them value kindness and equality. At St Christopher’s our children are surrounded by teachers and other adults who ‘practise what they preach’ and our youngest children have excellent role models in their Buddies who embody and clearly demonstrate our school’s values.
Ms Elizabeth Lyle, Head