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Lees Brook Academy students become anti-bullying ambassadors with The Diana Awards

Students at Lees Brook Academy are helping to tackle bullying after receiving training through a national scheme set up in the memory of Princess Diana.

More than 12 students have received their Anti-Bullying Ambassador badges under The Diana Awards and are already helping fellow students.

Riley Sheehan, 16, wanted to get involved because of the legacy of Diana.

“I really admired Princess Diana’s morals and values, she respected everyone and wanted equality. I want to create that safe space in school and make sure everyone feels they belong somewhere which is why I got involved.”

Riley, like many of the other ambassadors, has already been approached by fellow students seeking advice and support.

 “I feel proud to be able to look back on this and reflect how I have possibly made a change in school,” she said.

Zoe Fowkes, 16, said she liked the fact they were able to receive training in different areas of bullying.

“We have been able to focus on certain areas of bulling different types, we’ve looked at some racial aspects and also on mental health.”

Riley Mann, 11, said he felt his experience of bullying at previous schools was helping him be relatable to other students.

“What I noticed from the schools that I’d been to before was that I experienced an amount of bullying, teachers wouldn’t really help as they were too busy and I had to resolve it on my own. So, I have first-hand experience of bullying and when I came here to Lees Brook and heard about this, I knew I had to join in so I could help other people.”

As well as giving support to other students, Riley said he had also been helped by being an anti-bullying ambassador.

“At the start of the year I was not confident. I thought ‘I can’t do this’, but since doing this award I know that it’s helped boost my confidence.”

Kieran Newsome, 14, said he felt sharing experiences helped both the ambassadors and students they are supporting.

“It is quite helpful knowing you are not the only person who has dealt with bullying,” he said.

Nicola Moore, who is a mental health lead at the school, has been supporting the students through their training and said the awards have really helped to formalise the work they were already doing in school.

“We have a brilliant group of students here who want to help other people,” she said.

“Quite often students are more likely to open up to other students about what they are experiencing as they may feel they can understand or relate to them more so having anti-bullying ambassadors is really important. We did do quite a lot of this advocacy work with students before, but having the training and the official Diana Award helps to formalise that which is fantastic for the students.”

Under Anti-bullying part of The Diana Award, students can earn other badges for training and work in various areas include respect, wellbeing, online safety and community action.

Principal Clare Watson congratulated the students and invited them for a breakfast with her, at which they were presented with their certificates and first anti-bullying pin badges.

“It is vital to ensure that we equip our students with the skills to deal with bullying with authority and confidence. We are really proud of the work our students do here at Lees Brook to ensure that every child has a positive experience of school life.”

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