Peer mentoring builds confidence – A parent’s perspective

We know that as a parent, especially if your child is transitioning from primary to secondary, bullying is something which you may be concerned about. Although at Freebrough Academy bullying is not a major issue, we recognise that it happens, we deal with it swiftly and we want to take every step to reduce its occurrence.

Recently we received an email from a parent, thanking staff for the support given to their child who was being bullied. Freebrough Academy dealt with the bullying seriously and the bullying has now stopped. The student has been providing support for a peer who is going through a similar situation, being very kind and supportive, using their experience to positively influence others.

We are very proud of this student and we interviewed the parent as they very willingly wanted to share their positive experience and let other parents know.

Please note – As this is a sensitive issue we have agreed for this to be anonymous and for names not to be used.

Parent interview

  1. Can you tell us about how Freebrough Academy dealt with the bullying?

“Well we discussed it with the main teachers and other relevant staff. Every time something happened we reported it, it was dealt with really quickly. We then had the PCSO come in, the local officer and the anti-bullying officer and it was dealt with. Once that was done the bullying stopped.”

  1. How has Freebrough’s support had a long term impact on your child?

“It has made a huge impact, they are a lot happier than what they used to be.”

  1. How would you describe your child since they received support from Freebrough?

“I think their confidence has improved a lot, they are much better than before. They like coming to school, nothing seems to bother them as much now. They have done really well.”

  1. How has your child supported their friend who was being bullied?

“Always sending her messages and telling her if it doesn’t stop, she needs to report it every time. That it needs to be dealt with and if she needed to speak to them she could speak to them. They were just being really kind and supportive which they might not have had the confidence to do before.”

  1. How happy are you with the support Freebrough gave your child whilst being bullied?

“Extremely happy. Really happy.”

  1. What advice would you give other parents who might be thinking about sending their child here who are worried about bullying?

“I would urge them to speak to the staff and the school. I would also explain my experience and how good my experience was with them. It is peace of mind isn’t it.”

Mr Hukin, Head of School Inspiration, also added: “I think that at Freebrough the great thing that we have between parents and Heads of School, is communication throughout – emails, texts, phone calls and that all helps to keep parents informed. Peer mentoring, having the student support someone else is going to help their confidence as they progress throughout the school and that’s what it is all about. It’s about building resilience, everyone is going to have tough challenges that you have to face in life and so learning how to overcome these obstacles whatever they might be is absolutely vital. For some young people it might be an academic challenge, such as a perceived difficulty with a subject and for others it may be a friendship issue, for some it might be bullying. If we can build those skills of being able to overcome such difficulties, to build strategies to deal with these problems and to not give up, then the next time they approach a challenge that they think they might not be able to overcome in the first instance, actually our young people find that they can rely on these skills which they have started to develop so that when they get a bigger challenge they don’t just want to give up. For the future it becomes easier.”

Other information about bullying and what to do…

 What is bullying?
Bullying is deliberately hurtful behaviour which is repeated over a period of time and where it is difficult for the person who is being bullied to defend themselves.

One fight or disagreement is not necessarily bullying. Friendship issues are very common, especially among girls. Sometimes rumours are spread and others become involved. Although this kind of issue needs dealing with quickly to prevent it from escalating, it is not bullying. Mediation between students who have fallen out is often very successful.

What can I do if my child is being bullied?

Stay calm, tell your child it is not their fault and you will deal with it together. Children and young people can often become more distressed if they feel that you are powerless or very upset. Try to keep your emotions under control even if bullying brings back bad memories for you.

In the first instance you should contact your child’s tutor at the Academy to report suspected bullying and they will ensure that the matter is dealt with by the appropriate member of staff. You can also contact the Pastoral Leader for your child’s small school as detailed below:

Aspiration: Mr Bateman

Inspiration: Miss Vodden

Motivation: Mrs Holmes

Innovation: Mrs Douglas

For more information about bullying please visit the Freebrough Against Bullying webpage…

Any young person who is feeling intimidated or scared outside of school times should speak to their parent or carer in the first instance. If this is difficult or impossible Childline operates a 24 hour helpline 0800 1111…