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.
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!
Every year, we celebrate Anti-Bullying Week (12th-16th November) and the theme this year has been released. The theme is ‘Choose Respect’.
“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.
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.
So, the training day was a success! We all received goodies such as a new badge and wristbands and learnt valuable skills which will help us create a stronger and more efficient team at 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
Anti-bullying Week runs from 13-17 November each year and the theme this year is: ‘All Different, All Equal’. The idea is to promote differences and help young people celebrate what makes them, and others, unique . Our main aim as Anti-bullying Ambassadors is to help people understand why it’s important that every child feels included in the school community and allow them to express themselves without fear of bullying.
In AGGS, the Anti-Bullying team will be presenting assemblies to all year groups and will be promoting equality throughout the week through a range of activities. So keep your eyes open during November!
Year 10 girls went to Anti-Bullying training day at Old Trafford, run by the Diana Award – Anti-Bullying programme. They willl now be joining our current year 11 ambassadors to carry on the good work in school.
The theme ‘Power for Good’ is being promoted throughout the school week. Anti bullying Ambassadors have given assemblies to all year groups about how we can all make a change and create a friendly school environment.
We have recommended teachers to plan out activities for their form that help build teamwork skills. Anti bullying ambassadors will be visiting their Year 7 forms and playing games that require concentration and of course, they will be fun!
Teachers have also been asked t switch up seating plans so students can talk to other people they might not usually have conversations with.
We also recommend complimenting people this week, even a smile can brighten up someone’s day!