The future of BRAG
Because of the changes in the Public Sector and uncertainty about future funding, the Bullying Reduction Action Group (BRAG) is reviewing how to continue this vital work in the future.
Amanda Daniels, Acting Chief Education Psychologist and Chair of BRAG says:
“We believe that it’s more important than ever that Anti-bullying work continues Birmingham BRAG will strive to continue to support the reduction of bullying behaviour relating to children and young people in Birmingham through:
- facilitating others to take action to prevent and tackle bullying; and
- disseminating good practice
In spite of the challenging financial circumstances, we intend to continue to work in an inter-agency way to reduce bullying of all kinds, ensuring that Birmingham children an young people are safe and improving their educational achievements, health and wellbeing.”
Preventing and Tackling Homophobic Bullying
Birmingham City Council is delighted to be a Stonewall Education Champion and BRAG is proud of its inter-agency work with schools to prevent and tackle homophobic bullying.
Birmingham achieved 5th place in the national Stonewall Education Index in 2010 and 3rd place in 2012 and we are hoping to do even better in 2013.
You can find out about Birmingham’s work to achieve this recognition here: http://www.stonewall.org.uk/at_school/education_champions/6634.asp
BRAG is a Stonewall Education Champion and has distributed Stonewall materials to Birmingham schools to help them tackle homophobic bullying. Find out more and get resources from
Prevalence of Homophobia Surveys
The results of two surveys conducted with Birmingham teachers & NQTs, in Autumn 2012, can be found here:
Professor Ian Rivers Professor of Human Development at Brunel University concludes:
“The City of Birmingham Prevalence of Homophobia Surveys are landmark pieces of applied research. While homophobia exists, we can see that the majority to teachers today recognise its seriousness (96%) and feel confident in challenging it when they see or hear it (84%). Yet there is still work to be done. Only 67% of teachers ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that their schools were vigorously addressing homophobia and we see that teachers themselves have been the victims of homophobic abuse. Overall, we know that homophobic bullying is witnessed weekly by half of the teachers in this survey – a statistic that should be of concern to all who read this report. It is important that both pupils and teachers feel safe and supported at school, and that we ensure that homophobic bullying, whether physical, verbal or relational in nature, is challenged with head teachers, principals and school governors leading the way without question."
Birmingham Student LGBT Survey
The student survey follows the Birmingham teachers ‘Prevalence of Homophobia’ survey where we collected baseline data from both practicing teachers and NQT’s to inform further action in our schools.
“It is clear that regular Homophobic put downs are being used every day, as 55.7% of those (674) students heard The word ‘gay’ used negatively once or more than once a day”
Sue Sanders and Tony Fenwick, Co-Chairs, Schools Out
“Through my performing, I was finally noticed in school for being the boy who can sing, rather than the ‘gay one’. ”
Virgo Dalziel, former student
Educate and Celebrate
In September 2012, Birmingham City Council launched a new programme called Educate & Celebrate. Support & training is offered to give staff confidence to implement an inclusive LGBT curriculum. There are opportunities to share experiences, use effective resources, discuss successful strategies and gain practical advice on how to make all our schools LGBT friendly.
Birmingham’s first “Educate & Celebrate Schools LGBT Showcase
On the evening of 15 February 2013, an audience at the Library Theatre attended an entertaining and thought-provoking performances from some of our high-flying schools who are taking part in our groundbreaking ‘Educate and Celebrate - How to make your school LGBT friendly’ training programme.
- performances of songs by LGBT artists, from students at Turves Green Girls School and Technology College;
- a thought-provoking play by students from Perry Beeches Academy;
- a presentation by students at Ninestiles School about their trip to Bletchley Park and the work of gay mathematician, Alan Turing, who broke the enigma code;
- Stephen Hughes the Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council calling for Birmingham to be the first city to eradicate homophobia from all its schools.
Alongside Educate & Celebrate, BRAG has continued to promote and distribute Stonewall materials to Birmingham schools to help them tackle homophobic bullying. Find out more and get resources here:
BRAG has also worked with Birmingham City Council to publish "Challenging Homophobia in Primary Schools", a resource booklet written by Andrew Moffat, Assistant Headteacher at a Chilwell Croft Primary School, Birmingham. This contains a series of lesson plans for use with children of primary school age and recommends storybooks that focus on valuing diversity and recognising that families are different. The message conveyed is that there are 'no outsiders' in Birmingham classrooms.
A copy of the booklet was sent to all primary schools and, in the summer term 2010 was updated in 2012.
The 2012 publication of Challenging Homophobia in Primary Schools can be downloaded below. Hard copies are available from the Educational Psychology Service offices at the Jaffrey Centre, Erdington.
Preventing and Tackling Cyber-bullying
This year, BRAG hosted a Professional Seminar on Safer Internet Day (SID) at the Canavan Centre, on the Stockland Green Site in Erdington.
The programme focused on the theme “Connect with Respect” and included presentations by:
- Amanda Daniels (Acting Chief Educational Psychologist) & Andy Pyper (E-Safety Manager, Link2ICT) on “Cyber-bullying”.
- Lauren Seager-Smith (National Co-ordinator Anti-bullying Alliance) on “Connecting with Respect” - with a focus on the importance of respectful relationships.
- Kamal Hanif OBE (Headteacher Waverley School) on creating a respectful school ethos which values diversity.
There was a “speed networking” half hour where exhibitors did quick snapshots of their organisation’s anti-bullying work, followed by lunch where delegates could network informally. Participants also took part in small discussion groups, sharing experiences & good practice and a hands-on computer session, to help them protect themselves online & manage their own digital identity.
Feedback from delegates was very positive and one said:
- "I really enjoyed the training session. I feel much more confident in dealing with online bullying and how to educate young people on how to keep themselves safe."
The presention on Cyber-bullying, by Amanda Daniels & Andy Pyper can be downloaded below:
The UKCCIS Guide to Child Internet Safety can be viewed on the DfE web site.
How to tackle Cyber-bullying: A Guide for Parents and Carers
This leaflet has been produced by Birmingham’s Bullying Reduction Action Group (BRAG) and parents from Nechells Pod and launched at the Nechells Olympics in June 2012
Read their blog post.
A copy of the leaflet can be downloaded below.
Cyber-surgeries - a pilot programme in Nechells
An exciting new “Cyber-surgery” project has just begun in Nechells. This new pilot scheme will help children, parents and school staff make the most of the internet and at the same time stay safe online.
The project, funded by Birmingham City Council’s Bullying Reduction Action Group (BRAG) and supported by Link2ICT, started in February at Heartlands Academy.
The Cyber-surgeries, devised and delivered by local social media company Podnosh will be trialled and evaluated in Nechells and, if successful will then be rolled out to other schools in Nechells and across Birmingham.
Our Anti-bullying Week Seminar held on Thursday 22 November 2012 at Highbury Hall was a great success. Just over 100 teachers and other professionals working to Safeguard Children from Bullying attended.
- Deputy Lord Mayor, Anita Ward, (also the Chair of the Scrutiny Committee for Education and Vulnerable Children).
- Susan Morris King – Ofsted’s lead advisor for Behaviour and Safety
- Stuart Bray – a Stonewall Diversity Champion
More information about Ofsted’s advice about preventing and tackling bullying can be found on the National Guidance page.
Workshops & Exhibitors detalls can be downloaded below: