Dumfries & Galloway Council Help Launch New Anti-Bullying Reward Programme

respectme, Scotland’s Anti-Bullying Service, joined representatives from Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Education Services team, for the official launch of the new ‘respectme reward’ national programme for schools and youth services across Scotland.

Held during Anti-Bullying Week (15-19 November), the event celebrated the success of the piloted project staged during 2020/21 involving six schools; Dumfries Academy, Dalbeattie High School, Penpont Primary, Sandhead Primary, Drummore Primary and North West Community Campus. Featuring a validated self-assessment toolkit, the ‘respectme reward’ programme is designed to help schools review their anti-bullying policy and practice, acknowledge success and plan for future improvements.

All six schools were presented with their ‘respectme reward’ certificates during the event following involvement with the pilot. The partnership has led to Dumfries and Galloway Council receiving a ‘Highly Commended’ recognition from The Pearson National Teaching Awards 2021 in the category ‘Impact through Partnership’. During the event respectme Director, Katie Ferguson, outlined the next steps for the ambitious programme to involve more schools across Scotland.

Leading the design of the new reward scheme and school engagement programme, which has this week picked up the Ben Cohen Standup Foundation Champion Award 2021 for Best School Programme, Lorraine Glass, Policy and Improvement Manager from respectme, commented: “I am delighted to see this important new development in our anti-bullying work come to the national stage following the successful pilot with Dumfries and Galloway Council. I owe a huge thank you to the six schools for all their hard work and commitment during the process and for being the first schools to receive their certificate.”
“Our role is not one of inspection or enforcing, instead we seek to build solid relationships and act as enablers to help guide, uphold, encourage, celebrate, validate and share good practice wherever we can, and to support improvement and change through respectful challenge and thought leadership. This approach helps nurture a culture of growth rather than one of compliance.”
Chair of the council’s Education and Learning committee, Jeff Leaver, said: “Two of our council’s priorities are providing the best start in life for all our children and protecting our more vulnerable people. Being involved in the pilot process of the new ‘respectme reward’ programme shows how proactive we are being to try and ensure that all our children and young people are safe and happy.”
Vice Chair of the Education and Learning committee, Ros Surtees, said: “Bullying can have such an impact on children and young people’s lives so it’s encouraging to see schools in Dumfries and Galloway champion this new programme. With the toolkit to hand for our education staff and parents, we can help raise awareness of the issues children and young people face when it comes to bullying and seek to improve them.”

The self-assessment process strengthens and supports a children’s rights approach by engaging young people in feedback surveys and whole-school anti-bullying conversations and initiatives. During the process adult voices from parents, carers, staff and volunteers are all gathered independently to truly understand and bring further improvement to creating a safe, happy and inclusive space for children and young people to learn, play and grow up in.

If you want to find out more about the ‘respectme reward’ visit www.respectme.org.uk or email [email protected]

• Quote from the evaluation report captures the essence of the pilot experience:
“respectme is so much more than anti-bullying, it brought in everything around our nurture, experiences trauma, ACEs. It’s absolutely everything we do; it’s the heartbeat. It’s more than just bullying. If you get all the other parts of the jigsaw in, then bullying doesn’t become that much of an issue. It informs the culture, the vision, the values. It brought together everything so that when we came to pull the evidence for it, it all connected. It’s been about actually embracing all the staff training we’ve been doing, all the work we’ve been doing with the children, our focus on wellbeing, it’s been a celebration of all of it. It’s been wonderful.” (School lead)

• All information relating to the #What Made It Better? Young Filmmaker Competition can be found at www.whatmadeitbetter.com
• respectme, Scotland’s Anti-Bullying Service, was established in 2007, is funded by the Scottish Government and is managed in partnership by the Scottish Association for Mental Health and LGBT Youth Scotland.
• respectme works with all adults who play a role in the lives of children and young people to give them the practical skills and confidence to prevent and respond to bullying behaviour – including teachers, parents, caregivers and youth group leaders.
• respectme achieves this through a programme of free training courses and materials, as well as supporting organisations in the development of robust anti-bullying policies and practices, campaigns and access to free information and resources for all.