Sam’s Story: Listening to children and young people’s experiences of bullying in Wales
- Difference is seen by children as a key issue in bullying. This includes issues such as ethnicity, poverty, disability and gender stereotyping
- Isolation is another cause of bullying: this is portrayed as children with no friends and sometimes new to the school.
- A trusted person to talk to seems to be a key pathway to deal with bullying and often, that trusted person is a teacher.
- Consistency; a number of professionals expressed a wish for more consistency across schools within local authority areas and across Wales as a whole. The material collected suggests a very diverse and uneven picture.
- Monitoring: professionals noted there was no standard or consistent national system for monitoring instances of bullying.
Priorities for improvement
- Welsh Government should place a statutory duty on schools to record all incidences and types of reported bullying. This will require a clear definition of bullying.
- Schools should establish a preventative approach and enable children to recognise bullying behaviour at the earliest point – and know what to do about it.
In Sally’s first year as Commissioner, she wanted to find out what mattered most to children and young people across Wales.
To do this, she launched a Wales-wide consultation called What Next, and asked children and young people to have their say on her priorities.
Overwhelmingly, children and young people chose tackling bullying as their top priority.
In ‘A Plan for all Children and Young People 2016-19’, she outlined her intentions for Welsh Government and public services to make significant progress on ensuring that by 2019:
- Children’s contemporary experiences of bullying are better understood and schools prevent and tackle bullying more effectively
- Children and young people have access to the mental health services they need in a timely manner
- Stronger programmes are put in place to promote emotional health and wellbeing and support join-up between our health and social services, schools and youth services
We asked the children and young people involved in our Ambassador schemes to express their feelings and experiences of bullying through an imaginary character called ‘Sam’.
We asked children to tell Sam’s Story, specifying that Sam was their age, from their community, and was experiencing bullying.
Over 2000 children and young people took part through creative work and workshops.
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