Thoughts from the classroom

We kick off 2014 with the first of many guest blogs. Thanks to Mrs Amy Vinnicombe for answering our call and responding to today’s news about the increase in the reporting of cyber-bullying and racist bullying to Childline.
“Technology is great – I can’t deny that my teaching has become more exciting and interactive with the introduction of laptops for all and what would I do without the use of twitter as a source of inspiration?  Neither can I deny that some children engage better with a machine than with pencil and paper.  Many young people have such easy access to these gadgets and know how to do amazing things with them (I am not ashamed to admit that my class of 10/11 years old regularly teach me how to use an ipad!)  The distressing thing for me, however, is that with this progress in technology comes a new way of people to bully each other.
Childline has reported that the number of young people reporting cyber-bullying almost doubled in the academic year 2012-13, compared to the previous year:  4, 507 young people being bullied through the use of this new technology.This appears a frightening and disheartening statistic – yet, one glimmer of positivity we can see through this is that the Anti-Bullying mantra of ‘TELL SOMEONE’ is getting through.  Through anti-bullying weeks and the amazing work and support provided by people like those at the Songwriting Charity, our young people are aware that if they are being bullied, they should tell someone they trust. Quoting pupils in my own class, ‘telling is cool when you do it in school’.

For ten years now, I have reassured my pupils that I will be able to help them if they are being bullied and, touch wood, I have kept my word.  And yet this new information seriously concerns me.   Although pupils know that bullying is wrong, it is still happening.  Although many young people are seeking advice when they’re being bullied, what is happening to those who don’t ‘TELL SOMEONE’?

In the recent shake up of the Primary Curriculum, it has become statutory to teach pupils from the age of 5 about Internet Safety – this is of course vital and a positive change in the programme of study.  However, anti-bullying education and internet safety talks cannot simply be confined to one week, or one unit a year – they have to be part of the fabric of all teaching; part of the fabric of a school.”

Mrs Vinnicombe
Edward Francis Primary School

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