New Local Film Tackling Bullying
A new anti-bullying film aims to play a vital role in transforming the way schools, youth services, charities and community groups across the UK deal with the current bullying epidemic.
The 45 minute long film - My Life As A Bully - is a mix of mockumentary and drama, produced by Port Talbot-based educational film and theatre company, Firehorse Productions.
Released in time for National Anti-Bullying Week 2016, which is coordinated by The Anti-Bullying Alliance, the film will help both adults and young people aged between 7 and 13 recognise, prevent and take action against bullying.
Statistics featured by the Anti Bullying Alliance from the TellUs4 national report quote 46% of children and young people in Wales and England having said they had been bullied at some point whilst at school. 25% of children and young people said they worried about bullying.
In Wales, Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams, agreed a new programme of work for 2016-17 to strengthen responses to address bullying. The work programme includes collaboration with key stakeholders including schools, local authorities, children, young people, parents and carers to heighten the profile of the Welsh Government anti-bullying messages and find out to better support schools, learners and their families and support networks to tackle bullying.
Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams said, "I am committed to do all within my power to ensure no child or young person should have to put up with bullying in our schools.
"Anti-bullying week 2016 provides us with further opportunity to raise awareness of this important issue. This year we will continue to support efforts across Wales with a range of anti-bullying material and resources aimed at pupils, parents and teachers. It is important we continue to work to spread the message that bullying is everyone's business and will not be accepted. We all have a vital role to play to promote tolerance and understanding and to ensure our learners feel safe and valued."
Firehorse Productions, a core member of The Anti-Bullying Alliance, has an established reputation of producing innovative bullying awareness and prevention work and My Life As a Bully has the support of Baroness Newlove, the UK Victims' Commissioner, who is delivering the introduction to the film.
Victims' Commissioner Baroness Newlove said: "It is not right that almost half of children and young people say they have experienced bullying at school - we need to make sure they can learn in a safe environment and not feel isolated or victimised by others. This film rightly raises awareness to bullying, as the impact can be traumatic and often continues into adulthood. So let's stand up for others and take action against this issue."
My Life As A Bully has involved students from Dyffryn Comprehensive in Port Talbot and members of the surrounding community to work alongside professional actors and crew.
The film's story, which highlights the experience of a young person who, through a series of mishaps and information is treated as a bully herself, and soon discovers the pitfalls and hurt that bullying behaviour causes. The script has been written for young viewers to relate to and aims to make a real and lasting impact on the issue of bullying. The film is accompanied by a comprehensive educational resource pack, in line with the national curriculum.
Denise Francis, Founder Member and Artistic Director of Firehorse Productions said: "At Firehorse we are committed to offering practical solutions to tackling the bullying problem. Pupils from Dyffryn Comprehensive are at the heart of the production, which offers an unique and often humorous take on the issue. It aims to empower young people about the importance of speaking out against the injustices of bullying. Equipping them with the knowledge they need to deal with situations appropriately as featured in the film, is close to my heart."