"Promise me, never mock or make fun of someone; a companion at school or in your neighborhood. Please promise the Lord and never do this, or allow it to happen at your school or in your neighborhood"
Pope Francis (2017)
As a Catholic school, St Damian’s is fully committed to creating a kind, caring, supportive and safe environment for all pupils. Anti-bullying initiatives at St. Damian’s are used to underpin our strong school culture of ‘respect everyone’, one of our 5 simple rules. To ensure this ethos is embedded with pupils right from the start, we focus the first Year 7 ASPIRE Day on the theme of anti-bullying and team building. As well as undertaking activities about how pupils can develop strong, positive relationships and friendships with others, we carry out a survey to identify any concerns that our pupils want to have addressed.
Our key messages are clear. Bullying of any kind is unacceptable at St. Damian’s. All pupils are encouraged to report any concerns immediately and should know that incidents will be dealt with promptly and effectively.
The BIG Award
The BIG Award is a nationally recognised scheme that shows our commitment to taking bullying seriously and our inclusion approach is monitored to an exceptional level of practice. The BIG AWARD is given for excellence in bullying intervention. Each year we complete an audit of our practice and submit a portfolio describing the actions the school has taken. Throughout the year, regular activities and assemblies are held to promote anti-bullying as well as constant support available in the Ambrose unit, student support officers, Heads of Year and Form Teachers. Our commitment is to ensure that every pupil is enabled to fulfil their true educational potential and enjoy taking part in activities in the school community, without fear of being bullied.
Every year pupils apply to join ‘Bullybusters’, a peer mentorship scheme set up to support pupils who make be experiencing issues around school. The aim is to develop a whole school approach with proactive strategies of pupils supporting each other in a way that develops a culture of anti-bullying and promotes strong pupil participation.
Pupils can attend the Ambrose unit at breaks and dinners to speak to staff and peers and get support with issues such as, anxiety, friendship issues and bullying. This often occurs through discussion and facilitating restorative justice meetings. Restorative Justice works by supporting pupils to understand the viewpoints of each other before coming to a solution where both sides can move on. We find this method a productive way of resolving conflict without the need for sanctions or further staff intervention.