Norfolk mum's anti-bullying campaign round county schools
PUBLISHED: 15:12 09 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:45 09 November 2017
It's okay to be different - that is the message a Norfolk mum has been taking round the county as part of an innovative anti-bullying campaign.
The inspiring message of the GR8 AS U R anti-bullying group - which has visited 16 schools across the county as part of its three-year pilot scheme - was backed up by a visit from stand-up comic Tanyalee Davis, who grew up with dwarfism.
Using fun ways to discourage children from bullying, pupils are taught the four ‘STAR’ steps, which demonstrate practical ways they can help others who are being bullied in the playground.
This includes: standing up to feel great (S), talking to someone to sort out problems (T), always helping to be kind (A) and remembering to make friends with everyone (R).
To aid in their learning, they are told a story about a family of specially-created characters, each with a unique ability - showing that being different is something to celebrate.
The scheme, backed by Norfolk County Council and The Big Lottery, is the brainchild of mum Jacqueline Hitchcock-Wyatt, from Norwich, who created the programme after her own children were bullied at school.
She wanted to created a fun way for children to stop bullying before it starts by using stories, curriculum-linked teaching and arranging fun days at least once a year.
Mrs Hitchcock-Wyatt said: “We are now at a turning point because this pilot scheme in Norfolk has shown that our completely new approach is an outstanding success.
“We are changing the outcomes for children by giving them the tools to stop bullying developing in the first place. It’s what everyone wants.”
The group threw a special assembly for children at St German’s Primary School near King’s Lynn, with a magic show by performer Olly Day.
Ms Davis, who spoke about how she has travelled the world as a comedian, said: “Life would be boring if everyone was the same. It is about having fun no matter what you look like.”
The scheme also encourages children to team up with a “GR8 M8”, so they can help each other in times of need.
Ellie Payne, 10, said: “It is really fun. It encourages people to be really nice to each other and it is a fun way to do it.” Lyla Mott, 10, said: “If you can see someone who is upset you can support them to see if they are ok.”