Pupils give a thumbs up to no more bullying during Anti-Bullying Week

The anti-bullying tree with Milverton children's thumbprints on it. Back row from left to right: Matt Fisher (headteacher), Ben Donagh, Christine Mabel and Deborah Miller (Senior victim service manager for Warwickshire). Front row from lefgt to right: Milverton pupils Eliza, Charlotte, Elle and Magnus.
The anti-bullying tree with Milverton children's thumbprints on it. Back row from left to right: Matt Fisher (headteacher), Ben Donagh, Christine Mabel and Deborah Miller (Senior victim service manager for Warwickshire). Front row from lefgt to right: Milverton pupils Eliza, Charlotte, Elle and Magnus.

Pupils at a Leamington School have made a pledge to stop bullying during Anti-Bullying week in a unique and artistic way.

The children at Milverton Primary School all put their thumbprint on a painted anti-bullying ‘tree’ on canvas, which will be displayed in the school for all of them to see.

The idea came from Ben Donagh, a young peoples caseworker at the charity Victim Support, who first visited the school on Monday November 14 to give an anti-bullying assembly to the children during Anti-Bullying Week, which ends today (Friday November 18).

He used the acronym ‘THUMBS UP’ to help teach the children how they should behave.

Ben said: “The main thing was giving them awareness of what bullying is, what to do if it’s happening and if they’re seeing it happen to other people to tell someone.

“All of the children agreed to ‘give a THUMBS UP to no more bullying’ and showed this by putting their thumb print on their anti-bullying tree. They got a sticker afterwards as well.

“This is the same as signing a pledge, but more understandable for children.

He then revisited to the school on Thursday November 17 to view the completed tree, which by then was covered in the children’s colourful thumbprints.

Christine Habel, a Year One teacher and the PSHE coordinator at Milverton, approached Ben initially to come in and talk to the children.

Christine said: “It’s nice to have other people to come in to talk about things like this, particularly for the older children because they might not want to talk to a more familiar adult about their problems.

“I think the assembly and the tree were really engaging for the children - they were really excited to put their thumbprint on the tree.

“It’s great because the children have said ‘that’s my thumbprint’ when they see the tree and they’ll remember what they promised.

“Overall I believe the anti-bullying culture is good here because we talk about these issues a lot.

“Teachers try to be as open as possible with the children, and we have a good relationship with parents.”

Ben said he hoped to visit more schools in the county soon.

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The ‘THUMBS UP’ pledge:

T - Think - think about what they do and how they treat each other. Think about if what they say or do may upset or hurt someone.

H - Help - help each other so that everyone can feel happier.

U - Use – use kind words when they talk to each other.

M - Make Sure – make sure they look after each other.

B - Be Kind –Be kind to everyone all the time, not only kind words, but also kind actions.

S - Speak Up – if they see someone who isn’t doing these things, or someone who is bullying someone else, they need to tell a trusted adult.

U - Understand – it is really important that they all understand that bullying is never their fault. Nobody has the right or is allowed to do or say mean and hurtful things to you.

P - Protect – they need to protect and look after each other – make sure everyone is ok and that no one is being bullied.