Havering schools urged to stamp out bullying

A CHILDREN’S charity has called on Havering schools to step up the fight against bullying after almost 1,000 desperate youngsters called it’s helpline last year.

Support service ChildLine fielded 900 landline calls from distressed youngsters in the borough, it was revealed this week.

The troubled kids called counsellors on everything from bullying to family relationship problems, physical abuse and friend issues.

The real figure could even be as high as 3,500, with landline numbers accounting for just 23 per-cent of all ChildLine calls.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), which runs ChildLine, admitted that in some cases bullying had been so severe children had turned to harming themselves or even contemplating suicide.

In a bid to end the trauma, and to help mark national Anti-Bullying Week, the NSPCC has now asked all Havering schools to conduct anonymous bullying surveys.

Elise Younger, ChildLine service manager for London, said: “Many of the children who call us are sadly at the end of their tether and desperately need help. Anonymous surveys will give teachers important information like where and when the bullying happens, how frequent it is and the form it takes. It’s the only way they can map it and then deal with it.”

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It’s an effective technique Trevor Bradbury, head teacher at Brady Primary School in Wennington Road Rainham, knows well.

The head of the school deemed ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, gave the Recorder a rundown of their anti-bullying programme which includes a Year 6 mentor scheme, anonymous ‘worry box,’ family intervention and annual surveys.

Mr Bradbury said: “We have a programme to train Year 6 students in peer mentoring and they use those skills to mentor younger children. We have one session a week where mentors and mentees meet to play and chat.

“This week as part of Anti-bullying week we also had a local policeman come in to talk about bullying.

“We also have adult mentors who hold workshops on self esteem, respecting one another and what to do if you are being bullied.

“Sometimes bullying comes from how children are feeling about themselves and about what’s happening at home. We work with families and parents as part of early intervention.”

Mr Bradbury added that each year the head pupils helped devise a survey on bullying which students filled out.

“Luckily, when we’ve done the questionnaire nobody has felt unsafe,” he said.