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Smoothing the transition to secondary school

21 November 2012

To coincide with Anti-Bullying Week 2012, Deputy CEO of BeatBullying, Richard Piggin, blogs for BIG. Here he explains that 11-13-year-olds are more at risk of bullying than older children and how their Positive Transitions project will help to reduce this.

London-based BeatBullying was awarded almost £225,000 from BIG this month to run the new project, which includes a focus on cyber-bullying and employs young people as cyber-mentors. Visit our newsroom to read more about it.

Anti-bullying workshop

Pupils attend an anti-bullying workshop

Many children are worried about moving from primary to secondary school. It’s understandable – with a new school, new teachers and new classmates to contend with. One of the key fears that young people have is the thought of being bullied in secondary school.

Research from Ofsted (2010) highlights that the transition from primary to secondary school is a period of particular risk, when young people are likely to experience and worry about bullying more. The Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills (2009) also highlighted that pupils in year 6 and 7 were more likely to experience bullying than older pupils (44-47% compared to just 25% of year 10). Year 6 pupils were also twice as likely to report being worried about bullying than those in year 10.

That’s why, thanks to the support of the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme, BeatBullying is launching a ‘Positive Transitions’ project that aims to smooth the transition between primary and secondary school and to help young people feel confident and secure about going to secondary school for the first time.

Young people have told us that having a peer mentoring programme would make them feel safer and happier about going to secondary school. Teachers from schools across London have also identified significant need for support around the transition from primary to secondary school, and a gap in current provision.

An anti-bullying workshop

Pupils will be trained as mentors to offer much-needed support to others

As part of the project, we’ll be training over 2,000 9-14 year old mentors across 60 primary schools and 30 secondary schools based in Enfield, Islington, Newham and Hackney. These new CyberMentors will not only support their classmates and peers online, but they’ll also become anti-bullying advocates in their schools and communities.

Our schemes are proven to reduce bullying and negative behaviour – on average, schools that work with us report a 35% reduction in bullying and a 31% increase in the level of reporting of bullying. If we can reach young people at this critical stage, then we can not only smooth their pathway to secondary school, we can also inspire a new generation who will take us one step closer to our mission to make bullying unacceptable.

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