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27 March, 2007

Spotlight on Peer Mentoring: Anti-Bullying Massif

Today’s Education and Skills Select Committee report on bullying states that bullying should not be tolerated, either within school, or in the wider community. It encourages schools to be open about incidents of bullying, have effective ways of dealing with bullying when it occurs and provide support for the victims of bullying.

The Committee also recommends that where permissible, “punishment regimes are reviewed to incorporate ‘pupil suggested’ punishments i.e. litter picking and school clean ups”. This, they state, “will bring pupils to the heart of the process and they will feel that they have had a real influence in the measures to tackle the issue. It also means that the pupils will have determined what they feel is a ‘fair punishment’ for these matters”.

Students from the Youth Act group, the Anti-Bullying Massif (ABM) at the Central Foundation School in Islington, have been working to tackle bullying at School, in London, and on a national level since 2003.

They run a peer-mentoring scheme counseling young people, operate an anonymous teacher/student referral process and raise awareness through workshops and assemblies about bullying in their school and local area.

Their regular Tuesday lunch time counselling sessions provide a safe, fun and supportive place to go for young people referred to them. They've also run a poster campaign, taken their campaign to into classes, devised a website and organised assemblies at their school and other schools in their area.

Abiodun, 16, said “Ever since I have started caring, I helped set up a group with a bunch of school friends that all want the same thing as me and that is to make a change in society: our schools and maybe our community. As a group we decided to do something about one of the biggest problems the World is having trouble with now and always has had and that is bullying”

Carrie Supple, Youth Act Project Manager added "Groups such as the ABM, who choose to speak out and offer support to their peers, are incredibly important. They remind us all that together we are strong and can confront bullying in an effective and sustainable way.’

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