Gloucestershire College goes BIG against bullying
Gloucestershire College has received an early Christmas present in the form of the BIG Award for excellence in bullying intervention, which proves just how serious the College takes the issues of bullying and inclusion.
Awarded by the Bullying Intervention Group, the accolade is achieved only when a school, service, group or local authority satisfies eight criteria, which include having a bullying intervention focus group; a robust anti-bullying policy; regular staff training; involving parents and carers; a pupils’ peer support or mentoring system; regular awareness-raising activities; a testimonial from a young person; and the recording and monitoring of bullying incidents.
The College takes a no tolerance approach to bullying and its Students’ Union oversees a special campaign to help stamp it out. It has dedicated Anti-Bullying Coordinators, who were trained under the Princess Diana Award scheme, to investigate reports of bullying, support and advise victims, and decide on the appropriate course of action against bullies; whether it be time out, mediation or restorative justice.
This year, to support Anti-Bullying Week, Gloucestershire College installed a ‘Tree of Life’ in its Cheltenham and Gloucester campuses, which encouraged staff and students to write about their bullying experiences – positive and negative – as well as words of encouragement to victims on leaves, which were attached to the tree to create a colourful campaign against bullying.
In addition to this, a pledge wall was installed at Gloucester Campus for students and staff to sign their allegiance against bullying, which was also a huge success.
Val McFarlane, Director of the Bullying Intervention Group, said: “Gloucestershire College takes the issue of bullying very seriously, and strives to ensure the welfare of all of its students. It has an excellent up-to-date anti-bullying policy, a peer support system and a focus group which regularly meets to discuss action plans.
“Students are involved in the College’s anti-bullying strategies at every stage too. Bullying can take place anywhere, but Gloucestershire College is working pro-actively to allow its students to study and achieve without fear of ridicule or abuse. Students feel safe and happy, and therefore can reach their educational potential.”