The pastoral focus of this week in all schools in the UK has been anti-bullying. The particular emphasis this year in the anti-bullying campaign is ‘choose respect” and across the schools in The Mill Hill School Foundation there has been a hive of activity to help our pupils understand that they have a choice when it comes to bullying.
At the start of the week Mr Michael, the Business Studies teacher, gave a presentation in the Monday assembly illustrating how hurtful words can cause unseen damage. We don’t always see the impact on those being bullied, but repeated unkind comments can leave a lasting scar. This theme was poignantly made in the Chapel service on Wednesday when one of Mill Hill School pupil’s had the courage to talk about his personal experience of being bullied at a previous school.
When families come to visit our school to make a choice about where to send their children the questions are usually focused on academic success and opportunities. But when children come to visit a school their main priority, even if not voiced, is whether the pupils at the school are kind and friendly. I am sometimes asked whether there is any bullying at my school.
Every school has to deal with bullying. That is why we have anti-bullying weeks – we need to raise awareness about what to do if feeling bullied, what to do if witnessing bullying (be an ‘upstander, not a bystander’). Led by the Pastoral Coordinator, Ms Langrish and the PSHE teacher, Ms Moustafa, in tutorials and lunchtime classes, our pupils talked openly about what they could do to make the school a place where bullying is never tolerated; respect, especially in the multicultural community we have, must always guide our thoughts and words.