From the Deputy Head of College, Patrick Brennan
To say any workplace or school does not have bullies would be misleading. In fact, they unfortunately exist in all areas of society; some would say even to the White House.
Waverley College exists to provide a safe school environment for all of its staff and students and we have clear policies and strategies in place to reduce the effects of these individuals who exist amongst us. There are also clear consequences if a student has been exposed as a bully.
Schools across the country have been invited to ‘take a stand’ against bullying and violence on Friday 17 March. Waverley College intends to support this initiative not only for the entire week, but for the remainder of 2017 and beyond.
In addition to the new wellbeing structure at the College, the College also demonstrates its commitment to tackle the problem in the following ways:
- Promoting ‘Say No to Bullying Day’ on Friday 17th March
- Reintroduction of Rock and Water program in Year 7 from 2018
- Zero tolerance of bullying incidence which sends a clear message to all members of the College community.
- Every student completing an online survey which aims to identify bullies, their methods and times and places of operation. This information is used by the Heads of House in further dealing with this issue at Waverley College.
- Providing all students with safe places at the College during recess and at lunch including the library, Wellbeing Centre and Centenary Quad.
- Delivery of anti-bullying presentations to all students in Years 7-10 during Week 7 of the first term of the year
- Ongoing anti-bullying themes and strategies during Wellbeing times and assemblies
This year the College is promoting positive conversations about ‘taking a stand together’ against bullying and violence.
A report in the Sydney Morning Herald in 2016 highlighted research conducted by the University of South Australia which revealed that the number of Australian school-aged children experiencing bullying dropped by almost 25% between 2007 and 2015. However, Adjunct Professor Ken Rigby, a co-author of the University of South Australia Report, attributed the drop to teachers having positive conversations with their students about bullying. However he said that “bullying still remained ‘unacceptably high’ and more needed to be done.”
The College is aware that having all of the policies and procedures right is of no value unless the school community is aware of their existence, understood and are put to use as intended. This is where the cultural change we are seeing at Waverley is so important.
I would invite all parents to review the Bullying Policy on Page 18 of the College Diary with their sons this week. This sends a clear message about what we are on about in terms of this issue.
Any parent or student concerned about bullying at Waverley College should contact their Head of House for immediate action.