The Welsh Government cabinet secretary for education has visited a Wrexham high school to launch the draft guidance on anti-bullying and toolkit.
Ysgol Y Grango, in Rhosllanerchrugog, was selected to host the North Wales regional consultation event for young people of secondary school age.
Thirty students – ten each from Ysgol Y Grango, Ysgol Rhiwabon and St Joseph’s – attended the event, which coincided with national Anti-Bullying Week on Thursday 15th November.
The consultation period comes after almost two years of extensive engagement by the Welsh Government with schools, local authorities, education practitioners, Estyn and children and young people to ascertain how the current ‘Respecting Others’ guidance should be changed and updated to ensure it continues to be effective and relevant.
As part of the wider public consultation process, Welsh Government commissioned Dynamix, a company specialising in bespoke training and consultations, to facilitate workshops for children and young people to give their feedback on the new anti-bullying guidance and supporting toolkit.
Kirsty Williams, cabinet secretary for education, told the group that the guidance is being revised as it was introduced before the advent of social media.
She emphasised the role that children have in stopping bullying and reminded them that they have the power to change things for the better, tackling bullying head on.
Mrs Williams also spoke of the role of parents in eradicating bullying; cyber bullying in particular.
She told the students that there was a great deal of information on the Hub relating to keeping yourself safe online and that a new campaign had been launched yesterday on this very topic.
After listening to the minister’s address and participating in a short question and answer session, the students took part in the workshop and discussed what they felt needed to be done to combat the problem of bullying in schools.
Three of the Ysgol Y Grango students, Kyle Preston, Simu Umama and Charley Edwards, members of the school’s anti-bullying mentor group, an initiative proposed by the pupil body, were invited to a televised interview with the minister.
Mrs Williams answered each of their questions about: the monitoring of bullying incidents and the potential to use any new technologies to help in the reporting and recording of bullying in schools, whether there was an improvement or increase in the numbers of reported incidences of bullying across Wales, and what changes she expects to see as a result of the draft guidance.
Steve Garthwaite, headteacher of Ysgol y Grango, said: “At Ysgol y Grango we are very proud of our work on anti-bullying over the years, through initiatives such as the peer mentoring programme, SAP (Student Assistance Programme), our youth worker programme, the anti-bullying roadshow and our anti-bullying mentor group.
“We are therefore pleased to host the launch of the new draft anti-bullying guidance, to welcome Welsh Government ministers to the school and to facilitate the national pupil consultation.”
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