School top for its anti-bullying work

Hirst Park Middle School principal David Godfrey and inclusion manager Yvette Robertson with school peer supporters and young leaders.
Hirst Park Middle School principal David Godfrey and inclusion manager Yvette Robertson with school peer supporters and young leaders.

A Northumberland school has received top marks for its work to stamp out bullying and improve pupils’ welfare.

Ashington’s Hirst Park Middle School has been recognised under Northumberland County Council’s anti-bullying accreditation scheme.

The accreditation scheme is a great way of ensuring schools deliver on their commitments to protect pupils

Hirst Park Middle School’s inclusion manager, Yvette Robertson

In order to receive the accreditation, the school had to demonstrate compliance with a set of stringent criteria covering behaviours in and around school as well as cyber-bullying.

Pauline Stavely, chairwoman of LIST anti-bullying steering group, said: “Hirst Park Middle is setting a great example to others by adopting a pro-active and inclusive approach not just to eradicate bullying but also to make sure children feel safe, happy and motivated.

“The impact of this commitment is very evident as the children are much more engaged than they might otherwise be.”

Peer supporters and young leaders are appointed across the school to provide friendly advice and assistance to anyone with a particular concern, while up-to-date training on how to identify and deal with bullying forms an important part of staff members’ continuing professional development.

Hirst Park Middle School’s inclusion manager Yvette Robertson said: “The accreditation scheme is a great way of ensuring schools deliver on their commitments to protect pupils.

“The requirement to submit a very detailed portfolio of evidence in order for a school to be granted accreditation means it is no longer enough to simply have an anti-bullying policy, you actually have to deliver on it and measure the impact of what you’re doing.

“As a result of our work, pupils now feel that bullying in and around Hirst Park Middle is very rare.

“However we guard against complacency and we continue to spread the message that bullying in any form will never be tolerated.”

The accreditation is valid for two years.