At the beginning of April, we had our very first Mental Health Awareness Week. Over the course of the week we had various events, including speakers, a film at lunchtimes, yoga, Zumba and meditation.
I was able to see two of the speakers. Both talks were entertaining, inspiring and offered new information, which everyone enjoyed.
The speaker Wale Oladipo, from Mind, Body Breakthrough, not only told us why things work the way they work, but how the simple things we do affect our mind as well as an insight into the way our brains work when it comes to mental health. For example, what our brains look like when we smoke or drink alcohol in comparison to a healthy brain and how drinking or smoking can impact on not just our physical health but also our mental health. We also got to understand the importance of exercise and its impact on our mental health. The session was interactive and Wale Oladipo made the session entertaining and applicable to our daily lives, so that mental health didn’t really seem to be a separate thing from us and out of our control, but just as in our control as our physical health. One lucky student was able to have an EEG scan of her brain, and see the reaction in her brain when she spoke or thought about certain things which was an amazing experience.
Another speaker, Wendy Bateman, hosted an interactive session which we were encouraged to take part in as much as possible and again, it helped to make mental health seem as much a part of us and as controllable as our physical health. We were asked to think of our worries – if they were in our control, partially or completely out of our control. Not everything is within our control, and that is a fact of life. If you can do something about it, what are the actions you can take. Sometimes we need to break down a worry and look at the bigger picture, because all too often we get carried away with the little details, and these are things we all need to remember.
The activities at lunchtime during the week were a great success. The Well-being team did a fantastic job putting everything together, and the Anti Bullying team chipped in to show the film Wonder over two lunchtimes; a very inspiring movie which showcased the damages of bullying. Many teachers held lunchtime activities to help students de-stress and relax, such as mindful colouring and typography. The turnouts for the events were great and everyone enjoyed getting involved.
All together, the AGGS first Mental Health Awareness Week was brilliant, and helped the school community as a whole. Not only did the speakers help shine a light on our well-being, but the events brought together the school and allowed us to embrace a positive approach to well-being and raising awareness of the importance of mental health.
Thank you to the speakers who were able to visit school: Wendy Bateman, Lily Jo and Wale Oladipo from Mind, Body Breakthrough, and the teachers who held lunchtime activities throughout the week.
Written by Annabelle, Year 10
Welcome back to our blog! Here are our goals for 2018 and what you should look forward to this year!
Firstly, we will be starting Anti-Bullying Drop-In Sessions for all years. Our main goal this year is to create a scheme in school where students can feel comfortable discussing issues with the Anti-Bullying Ambassadors; don’t worry, we don’t bite!
“Following a consultation with over 800 children, teachers and members of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, it emerged that a top priority was showing that bullying is a behaviour choice, and that children and young people can set a positive example by opting to respect each other at school, in their homes and communities, and online.”- Anti-Bullying Alliance
During this week, we hope students understand the definition of respect and bullying and to always consider other people’s feelings. Remember, before you speak, is it true, kind, helpful or necessary?
We hope you look forward to what the team are organising for Anti-Bullying Week 2018!
And remember, if you need someone to talk to you or seek advice from, look out for our Diana Award badges and don’t be afraid to come up to us.
This year, Anti-Bullying Ambassadors created a banner for Stand Up to Bullying Day and to raise awareness about reporting bullying rather than being a bystander.
But no, this wasn’t an ordinary banner. After spending a week in the art room (with help from the amazing Miss Taylor) the ambassadors planned and painted the huge banner with the slogan: ‘I STAND UP TO BULLYING’ and below it, ‘Do You?’
The banner was hung in the main hall on June 13th (Stand Up to Bullying Day) and left till Friday and welcomed kind comments, inspirational quotes and messages.
Our ‘Stand Up to Bullying Day’ project aimed to strengthen our school community and collectively take a stand against bullying.
When we visited the banner on Friday, we were amazed by how busy the banner was. There were smiley faces and quotes and as teachers walked past, they commented on how brilliant this idea was. Thank you to everyone who left a message and helped us achieve our goal!
The banner will be in the main hall next week for the school open day and will later be placed in the library.
Take a look at the pictures of the banner below!
Once again, a huge thank you from the Anti-Bullying Team! 🙂
Our new Year 9 ambassadors were trained recently and AGGS hosted the Anti-Bullying training day for schools in Manchester. The Year 9s were joined by other passionate students from secondary schools and took part in a jam-packed day!
The students learnt how to recognise bullying, the different types of bullying and how their role as an Anti-Bullying ambassador is crucial at school. Along with a fun parachute game which allowed the ambassadors to think how everyone if different yet equal, they were able to develop leadership and communication skills and elected a team leader. Susi will be updating the Diana Award regularly about the progress the AGGS team make and will be able to ask for resources on behalf of the team. The team voted for a creative and enthusiastic leader; well done Susi!
After the other schools left, the AGGS team were able to sit with the staff from the Diana Award and discuss the individual roles they will have in the team. We had a range of roles, from very confident speakers to assembly presentation makers. Jaya and I look forward to working with the Year 9s in the next year and can’t wait to see how they continue to make AGGS a friendly, bully-free school.
Thank you to the Diana Award staff who visited us and we hope to see you soon!
Hello, I’m Hira (Year 12) and I have been an Anti-Bullying Ambassador for nearly 3 years at AGGS. Last year I applied to be a part of the National Youth Board and earlier this year I was shortlisted. After an interview with a member of the Anti-Bullying staff, I was sent an e-mail saying I had been accepted and I was surprised; I didn’t expect to be chosen!
During the Easter half term, all the youth board members from around the UK met in London. The Diana Award had organised a three-day trip including a visit to the new Facebook HQ and the Anti-Bullying HQ. Not only did I have my first Nando’s meal and receive a t-shirt and jumper with the youth board logo, I met an amazing group of people voicing the opinions of the ambassadors from their school and constantly campaigning to end bullying. We all bonded within the first few hours and I enjoyed every part of the trip. I can’t wait to meet the youth board members again in August!
So, why am I sharing this? I think the most important way to implement change nationally is to work with ambassadors from all over the UK; picking out the strengths and weaknesses in our schools and promoting the brilliant work they do. I had a chance to meet Alex Homes, the founder of Anti-Bullying Ambassadors and share how passionate our AGGS team is and the work we do to create a friendlier and bully-free zone at school. I am extremely proud of the current team and I know the ambassadors in the future will continue the great work!
What will the youth board try to achieve in the next year? We are currently creating E-Safety presentations and we will visit schools in our area to teach the students how to be safe online. The idea was inspired by our Facebook HQ visit; we discussed safety features with members of the Facebook and Instagram family. I aim to present to students next year in our school and visit local schools as well. I have already begun visiting primary schools to promote Anti-Bullying and I am extremely happy that their teams are working hard to create a friendly school environment. I hope to visit more schools and exchange ideas and help them in their school events/campaigns.
Here are some pictures of the trip and the National Youth Board for the next year! I’m excited to see what we achieve… 🙂
And yes, we met Will Poulter and interviewed him!
The top level of Facebook HQ is dedicated to a pick-and-mix, a doughnut and ice-cream bar and a cafe! (We all filled several cups with sweets…)
Follow our Instagram page and see updates on what the youth board members are doing in their schools: @antibullyingyouthboard18
Follow the AGGS Anti-Bullying Twitter to see what our ambassadors get up to: @AGGantibullying
Our school will now host Anti-Bullying training days for new ambassadors in Manchester!
On 9th May, Diana Award staff will be coming to AGGS and training young, excited and passionate students to help run the Anti-Bullying teams in their schools.
A number of Year 9 AGGS students were selected and will be participating in the training day, as well as students from other local schools.
We hope they enjoy the training and become amazing ambassadors for the school!
We also look forward to hosting many more training days for schools in Manchester!
Keep checking the Anti-Bullying blog for updates on the training day in May and the work the current team are doing in school.
The General Data Protection Regulation is set to be enforced into all EU member states by May 2018. So, what is the GDPR and why are the Anti-Bullying Ambassadors around the country supporting the campaign against it?
The GDPR is said to ‘harmonise data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens’ data privacy’ and will be the most important change to laws regarding data privacy in 20 years.
It will restrict the age at which individuals can lawfully give consent as well as regulating the way online services obtain children’s consent. Article 8 in the new regulation states children under the age of 16 will need parental consent when accessing ‘information society services’ such as social media.
However, it allows member states to adjust that limit to anywhere between 13 and 16. The campaign to lower the age restriction is already underway! To join the campaign or give your opinions, share them on https://www.facebook.com/GDPRhaveyoursay/
As teenagers brought up in a society heavily influenced by technology, we will be affected by this because our freedom of speech/ thought and the freedom to access and share information is being restricted. Research has show, by the age of 13, teenagers are adept at reasoning so why are teenagers being asked to become dependent on their parents? It seems politicians think teenagers are untrustworthy and lack responsibility… lets prove them wrong.
By supporting the campaign, you are helping to create a stronger force to combat the restrictions put in place by the GDPR regulations. Teenagers should be allowed control over their own social media accounts and other sites which might help some feel a sense of community.
For more information about the GDPR changes, visit: https://www.eugdpr.org/the-regulation.html
How it affects young people: https://www.itgovernance.eu/blog/en/the-gdpr-and-child-consent/
Keep a look out for new blog posts about the GDPR campaign, as well as on our Twitter page: https://twitter.com/AGGantibullying
During the last week before the February half term, the Anti-Bullying team cut out hundreds of paper hearts for the Valentine’s Day special event.
These hearts were handed to form tutors who were encouraged to ask everyone in their form to write a compliment on a heart for someone else. Many hearts were also left in baskets around school for people who wanted to write more compliments and hand them out.
This year, the event was a huge success and baskets were empty by the end of the week. Lots of people had been busy writing compliments for their friends but also teachers! The success highlights the friendly, supportive environment the school has created and the passion of the Anti-Bullying Ambassadors.
It’s Anti-bullying Week and the Anti-bullying Ambassadors are working hard delivering presentations and coming up with exciting activities for the week ahead!
To help spread the message, here are the teams’ video recommendations:
Broadcaster and naturalist Chris Packham is autistic – he has Asperger’s Syndrome, meaning he struggles in social situations and has difficulty with human relationships. In this documentary, Chris confronts this subject with honesty and allows viewers to experience what it is like living with autism. Although he considers himself “a little bit weird”, Asperger’s has helped make him who he is today and Chris celebrates his differences in this one hour special.
Michael Segovia, Senior Consultant at CPP, Inc., reflects on his past experiences and the ability to explore and appreciate others’ differences, as well as his own. He presents an interesting argument and question to ask yourself: what are you doing to encourage others to be all they can be? The TED Talk is one of many that encourages being respectful of each others’ differences.
We hope these give an insight into the message the team are trying to spread!