Pupils from across Wolverhampton took part in an Anti-Bullying Conference on Wednesday as the city marked Anti-Bullying Week (12 to 16 November).

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The Conference was led by the B-Safe Team - Wolverhampton's Junior Safeguarding Board - and supported by Wolverhampton Safeguarding Board and HeadStart Wolverhampton, the pioneering programme to help children and young people improve their emotional mental health and wellbeing.

Over 250 Year 5 and Year 8 students took part in interactive workshops led by HeadStart, Central Youth Theatre, The Switch Project, West Midlands Police, Wolverhampton Learning Technologies Team, YMCA Black Country and more, all designed around this year's Anti-Bullying Week theme, 'Choose Respect'.

Using drama, music and digital technology, the workshops aimed to raise awareness of the impact of bullying, and help young people define what respect means to them through the creation of an Online Respect Charter.

The conference followed on from the development of an 8 point Anti Bullying Charter by the B-Safe Team which encourages everybody involved in their school community, including staff and parents, to "speak up, stand up, and support others". The Charter was awarded to 20 Wolverhampton schools which achieved anti bullying status earlier this year.

Councillor Paul Sweet, the City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "HeadStart and the B-Safe team are doing a fantastic job to raise awareness of the devastating impact bullying can have on young people's mental health.

"But as well as raising awareness, it is important to encourage our young people to choose respect over bullying - and this conference was a positive step in the right direction."

Councillor Lynne Moran, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, added: "It was wonderful to see so many young people taking part in this conference. They will be able to take what they have learned back to their schools and continue this great work.

"The Anti-Bullying Charter is a brilliant initiative and I encourage all our schools to get involved and be awarded anti bullying status."

Linda Sanders, Independent Chairperson of Wolverhampton Safeguarding Boards, said: "Wolverhampton Safeguarding Children Board partners are extremely proud of the B-Safe Team and grateful for the invaluable work it undertakes to reduce the incidence and impact of bullying. The B-Safe Team is extremely effective in challenging organisations to do more, and involving children and young people as part of the solution."

HeadStart Wolverhampton is part of a £56 million National Lottery funded programme set-up by Big Lottery Fund designed to improve the emotional mental health and wellbeing of children and young people aged 10 to 16 by giving them the skills they need to cope with the challenges of modern life.

Alongside specific programmes in its 4 key target areas, HeadStart Wolverhampton offers city wide help through a Type=links;Linkid=9943;Title=Support and Guidance Directory;Target=_blank;. The site provides emotional mental health and wellbeing resources from different organisations, including information targeted at young people, parents and carers, and professionals.

To find out more about HeadStart, please visit Type=links;Linkid=6584;Title=HeadStart;Target=_blank;, follow @headstartfm on Twitter or Instagram, or find HeadStart on Type=links;Linkid=7788;Title=Facebook;Target=_blank;.

Caption: Sunita Pallan-Jhalli, HeadStart Senior Schools and Young People Engagement Coordinator (left), and Steve Dodd, Youth Organisations Wolverhampton Coordinator for Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council (right), with B-Safe members Rudi, Ciara and Melvin (back left to right).

  • released: Friday 16 November, 2018