“I will help mom at home with washing the dishes”
“I will always use my manners and say please and thank you”
“I will give my family a hug and tell them I love them”
“I will say thank you to my dad for my meal tonight”
“If someone is alone, I will invite them to play with me in the playground”
The SHAPE Programme, Sandwell Council’s child’s voice initiative, focuses on the 5 themes encompassing a child’s life:
The SHAPE Programme works in partnership with internal and external stakeholders to engage with children and young people and ensure we listen to their views and adapt our services to meet their needs. SHAPE’s vision, “Where Every Child’s Voice Matters”, is outlined in the Children and Young People’s Engagement Strategy 2019-22, which defines the principles and methodology to ensure active and effective participation.
One of the projects within the SHAPE Programme is the annual anti-bullying roadshow which takes place during anti-bullying week in November, with Youth Services and West Midlands Police.
Bullying has been a reoccurring issue for children and young people and since 2015 has been listed as one of the top 5 issues in the annual SHAPE Survey. The national Ditch the Label survey supports our young people’s view that bullying continues to be a issue, highlighting that bullying has increased by 25% year on year. 41% of children aged 12-18 they surveyed were bullied at least once a month. Bullying can also affect the mental health of young people, with 39% of young people stating bullying had an extreme or significant impact on their mental health.
Although the roadshow is a good basis in Sandwell to raise awareness of bullying issues in school, one week alone is not enough. A recent survey which took place with parents and professionals as part of Sandwell’s Online Safety Review, identified that adults thought cyberbullying and trolling was the top current issue affecting young people and they themselves wanted to be trained on how to spot signs of risk and dangers to their children. Therefore, more needs to be done to tackle all forms of bullying on a regular basis.
The Better Mental Health funding will contribute towards the development of an anti-bullying training module for teaching staff in schools. It will equip them with the knowledge, skills and resources required to raise awareness of bullying and the impact it can have on a young person’s mental health, enabling them to educate the children and young people in their care. The module will also be adapted for other professionals to be used in out of school settings and to raise awareness amongst parents/carers as well.
The module will cover different scenarios identified and discussed through our anti-bullying roadshows and focus on feelings and views captured by young people. Some of these can be seen below in the most recent anti-bullying roadshow in November 2021, where the theme was “One Kind Word” (All activities and resources used can be found here.
Young people themselves will be involved in the design and creation of the anti-bullying module. The drama group from Youth Services, the Digital Leaders Group and young people from SHAPE Youth Forum will be trained in video production and drama to create and film scenario-based case studies. The training module will be completed by May and will be piloted in June/July with the schools who have taken part in the last anti-bullying roadshow. Following review and feedback from the pilot, the module will be finalised to roll out to all teaching staff, professionals and parents in September 2022.