This week I have had the privilege of speaking to every year group on the very important topic of bullying. Within the framework of our ‘Marple Hall Spirit’, and specifically under the heading of ‘Respect’, I outlined what that means to me and the importance of showing kindness to others.
As usual, students were happy to contribute to my assemblies and quite rightly identified that bullying is where someone repeatedly and deliberately tries to hurt someone physically or emotionally. Being sad, or falling out with someone, or having a one-off argument does not necessarily mean that someone is being bullied. But, being the target of deliberate and repeated abuse – especially where there is an imbalance of power – is absolutely a sign of bullying. Our school ethos makes bullying fairly rare, but even one occasion is too many. I was honest in my assembly and pointed out that bullying is, sadly, something that happens in society both in schools and in adult life. I know that it happens at MHS, but I also know that we always take reports of bullying seriously. On many occasions we are successful in resolving issues, on other occasions we don’t succeed straight away, but that doesn’t mean we’ve ‘done nothing’ especially when situations can be very complicated indeed.
What I do know for certain though is that only by working as a community can we truly put a stop to bullying behaviour. I genuinely believe that society has moved on from when I was a child, and it is now absolutely taboo to be a bully. No-one likes to be accused of it, and often complain loudly and passionately even when the evidence is clear. As a school community we can use this feeling for good. Staff and parents have a big role to play, but students themselves can have a huge impact here, and I have seen it happen when whole year groups take a stand and don’t allow bullies to prosper.
That was the main message of my assembly. I believe in the power of kindness, the strength of kindness and the courage of our young people to speak out and to support those around them. When a whole school community stands together in calling out bullying behaviour, then that behaviour stops, and that is what I want for MHS.
Have a good weekend,
Ps Remember, INSET next Friday (2nd) and Monday (5th) December, no students in school!
Our Community - Our Future
Marple Hall School
Hill Top Drive
Stockport SK6 6LB
Headteacher: Mr Joe Barker