Getting on our bikes to beat bullying

The Songwriting Charity’s very first Nightrider London event is round the corner. Our eighteen Nightriders are primed and ready for the open roads of London. Tooled up with puncture kits, inner tubes, padded shorts, electrolyte tabs, new bicycles, rhubarb & custard gels, water bottles, multi-tools, lights, cameras – ACTION – the team is ready and we are proud of each and every one of them. They have worked hard, trained hard and have been supported by generous sponsors and donors. Team SAMSON are doing an exceptional job! We offer our thanks to everyone involved, especially our sponsors and donors for their support and encouragement. Nightrider London promises to be an exhilarating experience and a night to remember for all involved.

Songwriting CharityIf you receive Google Alerts or equivalent notices about bullying or anti-bullying work and news, you’ll appreciate why we do this work, particularly why we dedicate ourselves to the delivery of Bully Beat (and our many other programmes). Bully Beat is more than a project, a programme, a workshop, it’s an intervention. We are intervening through the intensive, reflective and creative process of songwriting, and aided by the very latest music technology. We are intervening not in a reactive way but in proactive and preventative way. During our workshops, children develop their understanding of bullying through activities and exercises that call on them to reflect on choices they make, the ways in which they behave to one another and the impact those choices can have. Confidence is boosted in a measurable way through participation in singing. We see and document significant positive shifts in children’s pride in literacy work. The benefits and impact are tangible.

Every time a donation is made to any of our Nightrider Bully Beat fundraisers this is the kind of impact you help us have on the lives of children we work with. You should be proud of that. Just look at the infographics below for the proof in our songwriting pudding!

If you haven’t done so already and would like to, please donate to our Nightrider appeal. The more money we raise, the more children and schools we can reach out to. Our team of cyclists deserve the support as do our beneficiaries. Thank you.

SWC_Confidence SWC_Literacy   SWC_Singing

Statistics drawn from evaluation data collected during workshops facilitated by Nathan, Ben, John, Sarah, Kat, Esther, Amy.

Illustrations by Ben O’Sullivan, Director of Programmes.

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RUOK?

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RUOK?

‘R U OK?” is an original Bully Beat anti-bullying song written by children at Halfway Houses Primary School, one of 30 primary schools in the Swale District of North Kent taking part in our biggest ever Bully Beat roll out.

Bully Beat has been designed to enthuse primary aged children about the process of lyric writing, singing, music arranging and contemporary production whilst promoting a serious anti-bullying message. We’re using informal music education and literacy working to communicate a range of key messages. Every song is written by the children. We record, produce and publish the songs at the end of the process.

This Bully Beat project is funded by the Angus Lawson Memorial Trust and First Class Business Solutions. We are working with 30 primary settings across the district in 2013/2014 and 2014/2015.

‘I Don’t Like It’ by Great Wakering Primary School

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‘I Don’t Like It’ is a poignant anti-bullying pop song written by children at Great Wakering Primary School, Essex. We’d like to thank Ms. Jo Brown for her encouragement and support and say well done to all the children who took part in the workshops. The song is very moving and contains important anti-bullying messages and we’re so pleased to hear that the group taught their school the song! Great work and look forward to seeing everyone at Great Wakering again in 2014.

About Bully Beat in Essex
Our second Bully Beat project in Essex primary schools is supported by the Essex Music Education Hub, with generous music technology support granted by Korg Education. Bully Beat has been designed to enthuse primary aged children about the process of lyric writing, singing, music arranging and contemporary production whilst promoting a serious anti-bullying message. We’re using informal music education and literacy working to communicate a range of key messages. Every song is written by the children. We record, produce and publish the songs at the end of the process.

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
Rayleigh
Essex
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Re-Friend The World by Ravenscroft Primary School

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The Songwriting Charity is working in partnership with Essex County Council as part of the Positive Assertive Confidence Skills Programme (PACS). We have been funded to deliver the Bully Beat programme as part of the reward structure for pupils who complete the six week PACS programme. We are committed to working with 10 schools and Ravenscroft Primary in Clacton was the first school to come on board. Their song is also available to play online: https://soundcloud.com/the-songwriting-charity/re-friend-the-world

Gotherington Primary School – Kindness is a thing that Makes People Happy

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Celebrating World Kindness Day, The Songwriting Charity is marking this global celebration of kindness with the official launch of the ‘Something Kind’ Primary School programme in Gloucestershire, in partnership with Gloucestershire Healthy Living and Learning, with generous support from the Summerfield Charitable Trust.

This autumn, to run alongside our hugely successful and impactive “Bully Beat” programme, we are launching the “Something Kind” programme.

Underpinned by a focus on emotional health & wellbeing, the programme seeks to raise confidence levels in those involved and engender strong relationships at secondary level whilst bolstering resilience through transition to secondary school for our primary school participants. We will be working with schools in the most rural communities in Glocuestershire with a range of disadvantage based on numbers of disabled, impoverished and geographically isolated children, ensuring those with least access to the arts are given new opportunities to participate.

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We think of Something Kind as the flip side of our Bully Beat coin. Once awareness is established through school based bullying prevention work, it’s important to help children explore other creative measures to establish and maintain a happy and enriching learning environment. This Something Kind workshops will provide unique opportunities to experience and offer kindness through the magical means of songwriting and self-expression.As always, the Something Kind workshops will leave the wonderful legacy of an original song for the school and the lasting effect of children reaching out to each other to offer kindness.The programme is generously supported by The Summerfield Charitable trust and Gloucestershire Healthy Living & Learning.

Something Kind encourages acts of kindness through songwriting – giving “Kindness” the reputation it deserves.

Feedback from teachers we’ve worked with on Project K

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We hope you like this video! Feedback from some of the heads & teachers we worked with on Project K last year in Cardiff. Details about Project K 2014 will be released soon. Project K is a special songwriting-in-schools programme for primary schools in Wales.

In 2013, pupils attending ten Cardiff primary schools benefited from this fully funded song-writing project promoting peace, celebrating song and remembering Kate Johnson, the sister of the charity’s CEO, Nathan Timothy. Kate was a visual artist in Cardiff who sadly passed away in July 2012. Kate was involved in the early stages of the Songwriting Charity’s work when it was founded in 2011

Project K 2014 is beginning to take shape. We plan to involve up to 40 primary schools and are busy putting a fundraising plan into action. We’re keen to hear from companies, local businesses and individuals who would like to get involved in the following ways:

  • Event sponsorship. Last year we held the Project K celebration event at the Millennium Stadium! We can’t think of a more iconic venue and intend to ‘takeover’ the stadium again next year. Can your company help us in 2014?
  • Make a personal or company donation towards our goal of bringing Project K to more than 1200 children. Visit BT MyDonate where you can make a commission free donation towards Project K.
  • If you have a place on the Cardiff Half Marathon 2014 or are planning a challenge event/activity, please consider raising funds for us and Project K.
  • If an employee decides to raise funds for Project K, could your company match it?
  • Provide in-kind support, for example marketing opportunities like advertorials in magazines, or letting us utilise any spare printing capacity for posters, stickers, leaflets even extra special Project K badges!

Whatever you decide to do, it will make a difference to a great many primary school children in your community.

If you have other ideas about how you can help us, or would like to discuss any of the above just email john@songwritingcharity.org