Staff and students take bullying very seriously at Tuxford. Three student support groups, made up of students from a number of different years, volunteer their time to help the academy in its efforts to tackle potential sources of bullying and deal with any occurrences that may arise.
These groups are Smile, Digital Leaders and Tuxford Pride.
Each group works closely with staff and other students, meet regularly, providing support and advice, producing promotional materials and contributing to the academy's assembly programme.
Find out more about each group below:
When you need a friendly face
Smile is a small group of students who help support people who feel like they need someone to chat to. We are an inclusive group of people with strengths in different topics, but all know that we want to help others. We don't judge and always respect everyone's point of view.
As a group, we work closely with Pride and Digital Leaders to expand our knowledge on how to help and support different types of people. Miss Leaning also works with Smile to help input new ideas and ways in which the group can be improved. One way we have made changes this year is that there is now a box at each college reception where students can post a little note if they feel they would like some help/support from one of us, or even if they just have a quick question. Alternatively, students could chat to any of us around school; we can be easily identified as we wear blue smiley face badges on our lapels. We also meet on a Wednesday lunch, where our door is always open to peers who want somewhere to chat or meet new people.
Previously, Smile was known as the Anti-Bullying Ambassadors, however we felt that it shouldn't be a group for only people who are being bullied - it should be a group who help support everyone, no matter what problems you may/may not face.
Stay safe online
The Digital Leaders programme was first introduced by Childnet- a charity aiming to make the internet a safer place for all. To become Digital Leaders, we completed modules that allowed us to inform and advise students about e-safety and we exist to ensure to that our peers are educated about how to stay safe online.
We are a group of students who feel passionate about giving our peers support and helping to make online safety effective and fun. We also aim to empower students through digital creativity whilst showing them that the internet doesn’t have to be a dangerous place. Recently, two of our leaders took a trip to an event in London called ‘House of Us’ which was run by Facebook. Here, they met other Digital Leaders from a across the country and took part in many activities to help put themselves into the shoes of a person who is experiencing trouble online. This has enabled the leaders to further their knowledge so that they can help more students within our school. If ever you find that you are facing problems online, we are here to help. Just look around school for our Digital Leaders’ badges if ever you need a friendly face to talk to.
Iesha Smith and Ellie Ford-Simms, Year 11
Read more about the Childnet digital leaders programme
Tuxford pride is an LGBTQ+ group led by members of the current Tuxford Post 16 (Holly Fender, Maia Bates and Charlie Love). The group meets every Wednesday lunch in S2 where it is open to all year groups, genders and sexualities.
The main purpose of the group is to provide a safe and comfortable space for students who may be questioning their gender, sexuality or just want to show their support towards the community/their friends. It is very important that students know that they have someone to talk to about these issues; being a teenager going through this alone can be very isolating and difficult. The group atmosphere allows students to offer each other advice and guidance around topics like coming out or how to deal with homophobia/transphobia. Also, it is beneficial for the group to be led by post 16 as, in most cases, younger students are more likely to open up to a student than a teacher about being affected by homophobia.
Tuxford pride has previously worked to educate students on important issues that are not covered in classes. Last year a lesson during a curriculum day was presented to the students explaining the importance of acceptance, mental health and charities that can offer some help. We know that the national curriculum does not cover all aspects of sexuality and gender identity so further information needs to be provided. To further this knowledge, the previous leaders did an assembly on the history of LGBTQ rights and the progression that can be a seen in our society today. However, they stressed the fact that we haven't achieved full equality yet so must keep working towards this.
In the past we have done charity events like bake sales and film nights. Through the last bake sale and film night combined, we managed to raise over £150 which we donated to the Albert Kennedy Trust. This is a charity that supports homeless youths that have been kicked out of their homes due to their sexuality or gender identity. It became a trust in 1990 after a 16 year old Albert Kennedy unfortunately died after running away from home due to his sexuality and had no where to turn to. Stonewall, the leading charity for LGBT rights worldwide, is another charity that we have raised money for in various charity events.
Tuxford Pride has recently set up an email address for students who may need advice or guidance but don't feel confident enough to speak to the leaders face to face. We are also running weekly drop in sessions that consist of a one on one environment where people can talk to one of the leaders privately if they don't feel comfortable in front of the group.
In the near future we will be running an organised sleep-out, to raise money for the Albert Kennedy Trust, which involves sleeping on the school grounds on the 30th November. It's designed to show you the reality of what it's like for homeless people and how we shouldn't take for granted what we have. Then, in the long term, our aims are to create a friendly environment at Tuxford Academy where everyone feels accepted, no matter their sexuality or gender identity.
Tuxford pride is a place where students can feel a sense of belonging that they may not feel in their everyday life.
Charlie Love and Holly Fender, Post 16
The poem below was written by Mia Bainbridge, now in Year 11
Bullying is sad
Bullying is bad
It isn’t good
It makes people mad
It is nasty
It is pain
Anything bullies say
Is always in vain
It is mean
It is jealousy
Anything you say
Can have consequences
Bullying is sad
Bullying is bad