All Different, All Equal: Anti-Bullying Week 2017

06 Oct 2017 BY Martha Evans

6 mins
Billy Elliot
Billy Elliot

To mark this year's Anti-Bullying Week (13 - 17 November), we've created two brand new resources, one for 7-11 year olds and one for 11-16 year olds, each containing PowerPoint presentations with embedded clips from films and teachers' notes with worksheets to help shine a spotlight on bullying and encourage all children, teachers and parents to take action against bullying throughout the year. 

Below, Martha Evans, the National Coordinator for the Anti-Bullying Alliance explains why educating young people - and adults - about bullying is so important, and how film can be used to help support this.

For decades film has led the way in challenging adversity and what makes us all unique. Take, for example, Billy Elliot, where Billy hides his ballet skills from his family and friends for fear of bullying and of not fitting into the typical gender roles. Or Shrek, where the ogre is ridiculed for the way he looks. These films lead the way in teaching young people to celebrate difference in everyone and in helping in the fight to stop bullying.

For over 20 years schools seemed to be making some headway in reducing hate speech in the classroom. However, recent figures obtained by the Times Educational Supplement through a freedom of information request to England's police forces in April has shown a sharp rise in hate crimes and incidents in schools. This worrying research backs up what we at the Anti-Bullying Alliance have been hearing from schools in recent years.

These statistics come in the shadow of significant world events and changes to the political landscape. There is a sense that we are a divided society and it is difficult not to worry about the effect of all this on the next generation - are they growing up detached from others, in increasingly entrenched social divisions?

It was all the more heartening, then, to hear from almost 600 children and young people who took part in a survey for the Anti-Bullying Alliance, and learn that, although they do recognise this negative discourse, they want it to change, and they want to be a part of that change. At a time of division, young people are telling us that they would like us to focus on the positive aspects of difference, and on finding out what connects people from different walks of life.

That is how we arrived at this years Anti-Bullying Week theme - All Different, All Equal. We want to use this slogan to:

  • Empower children and young people to celebrate what makes them and others unique
  • Help children and young people understand how important it is that every child feels valued and included in school, and able to be themselves without fear of bullying
  • Encourage parents and carers to work with their school and talk to their children about bullying, difference and equality
  • Enable teachers, school support staff and youth workers to celebrate what makes us all different, all equal by celebrating difference and equality and taking individual and collective action to prevent bullying, creating safe environments where children can be themselves.

We are seeing a recognition of division - of difference - and of the negative effects this is having on society, and we are hearing about a drive to change things. We want to harness this drive and create schools where everyone is welcome, safe and free from harm.

Film has a powerful and important role in this journey and that is why we support Into Film each year with the Into Film Festival and work together to develop resources for schools to help them harness the power of film for Anti-Bullying Week. Join us on this journey.

Anti-Bullying Week 2017 is taking place from 13 - 17 November 2017. Find out more about Anti-Bullying Week and how to get involved at www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/antibullyingweek.

The Into Film Festival takes place 8 - 24 November and offers free screenings to support Anti-bullying Week. Find out what's on in your area and book your free tickets here.

Martha Evans, National Coordinator of the Anti-Bullying Alliance

Martha Evans, National Coordinator of the Anti-Bullying Alliance

Martha Evans is National Coordinator of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, she is a passionate anti-bullying campaigner and has 10 years’ experience of working with schools and local authorities.

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