School introduces ‘buddy benches’

County council deputy leader Dave Ledger, a group of pupils and staff Jill Preece and Becky Johns with the new seats at Stakeford Primary School.  Picture by Jane Coltman
County council deputy leader Dave Ledger, a group of pupils and staff Jill Preece and Becky Johns with the new seats at Stakeford Primary School. Picture by Jane Coltman
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Children at Stakeford Primary School are taking a stance against loneliness and bullying – by sitting down.

To mark national Anti-Bullying Week, the school unveiled three ‘buddy benches’ that are designed to promote inclusion and friendship in the playground.

The idea is that if a child is upset, has no-one to play with, or wishes to talk to someone about a concern, by sitting on the bench, someone will come and join them or ask them to play.

The school introduced the seats, which were bought through PTA fund-raising, as part of its positive behaviour policy.

Chairman of governors Jacqueline Rowell said: “If a pupil is feeling alone or unhappy, they take a seat on the bench and either a teacher or a fellow pupil will come to them and ask what is wrong.”

“We have taught the children about the ethos of the buddy benches and how they will work so that they all understand and buy into the concept. They have greeted the idea with enthusiasm and a sense of responsibility to reach out to their lonelier peers.”

Headteacher Julie Hall added: “Although bullying isn’t really an issue for us, we have talked at length with the children to help them understand how their actions or words can impact on and upset others.”

Northumberland County Council’s deputy leader Dave Ledger, who has a close association with Stakeford Primary, said he was delightedthat the school has introduced this initiative.