Anti Bullying Week – Best teaching resources for 2023
Get involved with Anti Bullying Week in your school with this collection of excellent resources for primary and secondary…
- by Teachwire
Take a stand against bullying and support children’s individuality with these Anti Bullying Week resources and ideas…
- What is Anti Bullying Week?
- When is Anti Bullying Week 2023?
- What is the Anti Bullying Week 2023 theme?
- Anti Bullying Week resources
- Explore bullying through stories
- Anti Bullying Week videos
- How to make sure your anti-bullying policy is LGBT+ inclusive
- Using films to combat bullying
- Advice for teachers being bullied
What is Anti Bullying Week?
Anti Bullying Week is an event coordinated by the Anti-Bullying Alliance – a coalition of organisations and individuals working together to stop bullying.
In 2022, 80% of schools marked the week, reaching over 7.5 million children.
When is Anti Bullying Week 2023?
Anti-Bullying Week 2023 takes place between Monday 13th and Friday 17th November.
What is the Anti Bullying Week 2023 theme?
The theme for Anti Bullying Week 2023 is ‘Make a noise about bullying’.
Anti Bullying Week resources
Odd Socks Day activities primary lesson plan
Anti-Bullying Week kicks off with Odd Socks Day on Monday 13th November 2023. This is designed to be a fun opportunity for children to express themselves and celebrate their individuality and what makes us all unique.
All they have to do to take part is wear odd socks to school, it couldn’t be simpler! The aim is simply to help raise awareness around anti-bullying, and hopefully raise some money to help the charity.
These Anti-Bullying Week activities by Lizzie Jennings, associate of the Anti-Bullying Alliance are suitable for KS1 and KS2. The lesson plan is focused on official Odd Socks Day song, The Kids Are United, by Andy Day’s Odd Socks band.
Through discussing the meaning behind the day, children will celebrate their differences and learn the power of coming together to take a stand against bullying.
School of Kindness assembly
School of Kindness is hosting a virtual World Kindness Day assembly on 13th November 2023. Last year more than 45,000 children took part. Register your interest here.
There’s also a lovely Kindness Bingo resource that you can print off and hand out for children to complete.
PSHE podcast that teaches kindness
The Rez is a sci-fi adventure for KS2 that you can access via a podcast, comic book and game-based website. The PSHE Association has accredited the accompanying classroom resources.
Martha Evans, director of The Anti-Bulling Alliance, says: “Developing empathy and encouraging kindness can make a big difference when it comes to bullying, so resources that support teachers to bring this into their classroom are extremely valuable.”
Free CPD online training
Browse the Anti-Bullying Alliance’s library of free CPD-certified anti-bullying online training for anyone that works with children. Topics include:
- Ten principles to reduce bullying
- Responding to bullying
- Bullying and SEN
Ditch the Label anti bullying resources
Ditch the Label provides free PSHE education resources to combat bullying, mental health stigma and unconscious bias. Its bullying module for secondary pupils looks at some of the root causes of bullying and helps students to reflect on the role they can play in tackling bullying. The included lessons are:
- Behind the bully
- Banter or bullying?
- What you looking at?
- Am I normal?
- And relax…
- Who will you be?
Exploring why bullying occurs lesson plan
You’re never too old to learn more about how your words and actions affect others. Rachel Summers has put together some inspiring activities to help KS4 pupils improve their empathy skills. You will cover:
- The places where bullying can happen thoughtlessly
- How by turning a blind eye to bullying, you become complicit in it
- The ways in which we can stop bullying and create an anti-bullying culture
Anti-bullying drama workshops
These Anti-Bullying Workshops have been delivered to thousands of KS1 and KS2 children and their teachers since 2006. They offer effective strategies for helping pupils tackle bullying in all its forms.
For KS1 there is a Friendship Workshop, while for KS2 there is a selection of workshops covering different anti-bullying topics such as cyberbullying, how language can hurt and, of course, Anti-Bullying Week.
Tackling disability-related bullying
This resource has been developed for primary teachers to support equality work in their schools, so that all children can appreciate and celebrate the contribution that people with a disability can make in our society.
It gives practical advice and includes lesson plans that you can use to enhance children’s awareness and improve their levels of empathy for those with a disability.
Family Lives resources
There’s a whole host of free anti-bullying resources on the Family Lives website. Get assembly presentations, posters, flashcards and more. There’s also an advice activity, debate ideas and videos.
Explore bullying through stories
Describing bullies with The BFG
Talk with your class about how we can deal with bullies, then use the activities and worksheets in this KS1 and KS2 Roald Dahl lesson plan to create your own description of a bully that uses similes and metaphors to great effect.
We’re All Wonders
Consider themes of kindness, individual differences, dealing with personal challenges and the need to belong with this teaching and discussion guide for RJ Palacio’s incredible follow up to Wonder.
The guide includes discussion questions and classroom activities for younger and older primary children, pre-reading notes and the opportunity to become a certified kind classroom.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are the perfect companion for reluctant readers. Their comic book format makes them accessible, they’re bursting with laugh-out-loud moments and tackle important themes such as bullying and family life.
These activities will get students excited about the books while developing their literacy skills.
Create a music video
Follow the lead of pupils at Amesbury School in Hindhead, Surrey, and create your own music video for Anti-Bullying Week.
This magnificent example, set to the song Brave by Sara Bareilles, features children aged 10-13 singing, as well as Peter Hannah from the original West End cast of Waitress. Its aim is to encourage children to reach out.
Digiduck’s Big Decision
This story from Childnet is aimed at children aged three to seven and is all about how to be a good friend to others on the internet. There’s also a poster and interactive app available.
Anti Bullying Week videos
OpenView Education has created a series of interactive anti-bullying videos to support schools. Suitable for Early Years to KS2, the videos feature the characters of Milly and Philip.
Use these videos to spark creative discussions with your class. They’re a great way of introducing topics such as:
- Choose Respect – Bullying as a behaviour choice
- Bullying vs Conflict – The difference between bullying and conflict
- Celebrating Difference – Learning why it’s fun to have a friend who is different from us
- Peer Pressure – Understanding Bullying as a group behaviour
BBC bullying videos
The BBC has created a collection of teaching resources for primary and secondary pupils to complement your Anti Bullying Week programme.
There are animated versions of personal testimonies, stories about what drives someone to become a bully and more.
How to make sure your anti-bullying policy is LGBT+ inclusive
They can improve the mental health of all pupils, so here’s how to develop one, explains Francesca Cowper, former teacher and education programmes officer at Just Like Us…
Primary education settings are at the heart of tackling anti-LGBT+ behaviours, including homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. With some of the youngest members of society, we provide the chance to really address these issues from the ground up.
While many primary schools will have few, if any, pupils who already openly identify as LGBT+ themselves, it is important to remember that statistically a certain percentage of your students will identify as LGBT+ in the future.
They deserve to have these parts of themselves validated throughout their lives, not just when in secondary school.
An increasing number of children in schools also have parents, siblings or other relatives who are LGBT+ and they need to see their families represented.
Equally, those who are not from LGBT+ families will benefit from learning about and celebrating different types of people who they will inevitably meet in their future lives.
As a former primary school teacher, I am aware of how daunting LGBT+ inclusion can seem. I, like many staff I have worked with, have always been aware of how important this work is but was often unclear on where to begin.
“I am aware of how daunting LGBT+ inclusion can seem”
Luckily, there are many ways in which you can support your pupils in their inclusion journey, whatever your starting point. Here are some that I’ve learned over the years…
Getting the words right
When I was younger, children frequently used the word ‘gay’ to refer to things which were bad or uncool. Unfortunately, more than 20 years later this still a regular occurrence in lots of primary schools.
I have found that many teachers are unsure how to address it, and I myself sometimes reverted to chiding. While this can seem like the right way to react, in fact it can have some negative consequences.
For instance, if a child uses ‘gay’ in this context and you chastise them for doing so, the message they take away is that ‘gay’ is a bad word. Instead, school policies can encourage staff to explain why using the word ‘gay’ in this way is not kind, partly by explaining its true meaning.
“School policies can encourage staff to explain why using the word ‘gay’ in this way is not kind”
There may be staff who are unclear about what they should or shouldn’t say in this context, so it can be useful to have scripts to refer to.
Children in primary school use words such as ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ to be deliberately insulting, too. In my experience, some children use these words hurtfully towards students who in some way differ from the ‘norm’; usually regarding gender.
Sometimes, our own conscious or unconscious stereotypes can lead to this kind of labelling, as well. While teaching, I witnessed children calling boys ‘gay’ because they played with what were regarded as ‘girls’ toys’. I also saw children calling girls who got their hair cut short ‘lesbian’.
Remarks such as these stem from limited understanding of gender expression and identity, as well as misunderstandings about gay and lesbian people.
In this case, it is still vital that we educate students about the meanings of these words in a sensitive way. However, tackling this kind of anti-LGBT+ behaviour begins before the actions themselves even occur.
Is your teaching as free of gender stereotyping as possible? Are you talking about careers? Why not show a woman as a builder and a man as a dancer? It is also important that in these circumstances children learn that there is no one way to ‘look’ gay or lesbian.
“Is your teaching as free of gender stereotyping as possible?”
One way I have addressed this with pupils is by talking about how we can’t always tell what someone’s personality, career or background is from the clothes they’re wearing. This helps them to understand that appearance is not necessarily linked to sexual orientation or gender identity.
It is, of course, also important that we meet bullying with consequences. An inclusive anti-bullying policy will make it clear that anti-LGBT+ behaviour is hurtful and that you’ll be handling it in the same way as other bullying in your school.
“An inclusive anti-bullying policy will make it clear that anti-LGBT+ behaviour is hurtful”
Sometimes anti-LGBT+ behaviour in primary schools can be directed at a pupil’s family, rather than the student themselves. I had one student who had LGBT+ parents and other children did not always react positively.
It was only through discussing LGBT+ diversity that this situation changed, significantly improving the wellbeing of my student and his family. An LGBT+ inclusive anti-bullying policy will make it clear that negative comments about someone’s family can also be a kind of bullying.
Anti-bullying policies sit within the wider landscape of a school and are only one aspect of creating an inclusive space where pupils feel safe to be themselves. School should also be about sending positive messages.
In fact, LGBT+ charity Just Like Us’ research report Growing Up LGBT+ found that positive messaging in schools is linked to pupils having better mental health. This includes being less likely to contemplate suicide – regardless of whether they’re LGBT+ or not.
Therefore, it’s important to build a school culture where we don’t merely tolerate difference and diversity but celebrate it. When you embed this culture, you tend to see far fewer incidents of anti-LGBT+ bullying.
Update your book corner
A fantastic way to do this is through the materials you use in school, including the books you read. Have a look at your book corner: are there any books which feature LGBT+ characters?
There are lots of great stories you can include to introduce children to these topics, such as The Pirate Mums by Jodie Lancet-Grant. You don’t have to do this exclusively through explicit lessons on LGBT+ issues, either.
Bring inclusive materials and discussions into the mix wherever you can, to help avoid ‘othering’ of these identities.
Finally, School Diversity Week, which takes place every June, is also a brilliant opportunity to embed LGBT+ inclusion across the curriculum and celebrate diversity in all its forms. Signing up is free and you’ll get access to a whole host of LGBT+ inclusive primary resources for use across the curriculum.
Using films to combat bullying
Film is an excellent vehicle to explore bullying. Into Film has an extensive choice of classic and popular films linked to bullying on its website. These include:
- Rebel Without a Cause (PG)
- Ghostbusters (12)
- Mean Girls (12)
- The Duff (12)
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (12)
- Just Jim (15)
- Whiplash (15)
Here are three films you could watch during Anti Bullying Week, with discussion question suggestions.
Handsome Devil (15)
At his Irish boarding school, Ned is something of an outsider, more interested in music than the exploits of the rugby team, whose fortunes dominate the agenda. Things get worse when the school assigns Ned a new roommate, Conor, who quickly establishes himself as the rugby team’s star man.
Gradually the pair bond with one another and truths are unearthed that they, and those around them, had tried to keep hidden.
This is a crowd-pleasing and charming coming-out story, containing engaging messages for all young people around honesty and self-expression.
- Why do others treat Ned like an outsider at school? How is the term “gay” used by other pupils, beyond referring to sexual identity?
- What was the significance of rugby to the school? How did Ned’s attitude towards the team affect his initial relationship with Conor? Why did he change his mind?
- Why was Mr Sherry so angry when he caught Ned plagiarising song lyrics in his essays? What did he mean by his statement “If you spend your whole life being somebody else, who’s going to be you?”?
My Life As A Courgette (PG)
This is a charming French animation about a nine-year-old boy called Courgette. He’s sent to live in a children’s home following the death of his mother.
Following his attempts to fit in with the other children – each of whom carry scars of their own difficult pasts – the film is a gentle exploration of the thoughts and feelings a young person might have when going through a difficult period.
Full of humour, the film deals with the challenging issues and behaviours of each child sensitively and without patronising young audiences.
- Why do you think the story was told using stop-motion animation? What effect does this have on the audience’s relationship to the characters and their stories?
- How does the film encourage us to learn to look at things from other people’s perspective? Why was Courgette initially bullied by Simon when he arrived at the home and what caused this to change?
- What role did Raymond, the police officer, play in Courgette’s life? How are adults represented in the film more generally?
X-Men: First Class (12)
The year is 1963, we’re in the middle of the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union, and mutants are considered as potential weapons of great value. Meanwhile, Xavier and his friend Erik Lehnsherr (aka Magneto) start their long argument about the relationship between the mutants and other humans.
There are plenty of spectacular action scenes, too, in this instalment of the hugely popular series that has won plaudits for its portrayal of themes of prejudice and being an outsider.
- Why did the members of the X-Men believe they needed code names, rather than using their real names? Why wasn’t Hank the scientist given a name?
- Explain the reason that Hank and Raven looked to find “cures” for their physical appearance? In what way was this influenced by how others were treating them?
- The X-Men films have been praised for telling stories that deal with issues of intolerance and inequality. Do you agree? Why?
This resource from Into Film will help you continue to explore bullying through film. You’ll also cover related themes such as friendship, standing up for what is right, cyberbullying and the power of groups, both positive and negative.
The download comprises a ten-page guide for teachers, containing activity ideas and accompanying worksheets for primary and secondary learners.
For information about Into Film or to set up a free film club for access to thousands of films and resources visit intofilm.org.
Advice for teachers being bullied
Of course, it’s not just children who experience bullying in schools. Adults do too. And if teaching wasn’t hard enough as it is, it can be a nightmare when a colleague is making your life a misery.
This advice article from Mary Thornton and Pat Bricheno explains that while it can feel like there’s nowhere to turn, keeping your head down is often the worst thing to do.
And in this anonymous article, our writer reveals how their manager created a toxic culture in my school, but they were determined not to be pushed out.