Ideas and resources for Anti-Bullying Week 2017

Written by: Martha Evans | Published:
Celebrate difference: The children’s band Andy and the Odd Socks is supporting Anti-Bullying Week’s Odd Socks Day

How can we make the most of Anti-Bullying Week in schools, including this year’s primary-focused Odd Socks Day initiative? Martha Evans explains more and offers some ideas for primary schools

It has been 15 years since we first started running Anti-Bullying Week in schools across England. With this year’s Anti-Bullying Week coming up from November 13 to 17 we have been looking to make sure that it is as fresh and interesting as possible.

Many of the 600 young people who responded to our Anti-Bullying Week survey in January indicated that Anti-Bullying Week and their school’s anti-bullying activity was very much something that schools made them do. They would say things like “yeah, school did an assembly to us about it” or “they put up a poster”. It seemed that some children thought of Anti-Bullying Week as something that teachers dreamed up in the staffroom.

Anti-Bullying Week is a great opportunity as a school to talk about bullying and review your practices. But it is vital students are also involved and heard throughout your Anti-Bullying Week activities. That’s why this year we have tried to give young people a leading role in Anti-Bullying Week. We have worked with young people and the Diana Award to create tips about engaging young people in your week’s activity. Here are some ideas for your school:

  • Create a student advisory group: develop activities for Anti-Bullying Week with a diverse group of students to get everyone involved.
  • Select a school slogan: use the official Anti-Bullying Week slogan or come up with your own.
  • Social media takeover: encourage students to take over the school’s social media for the day to send out anti-bullying messages.
  • Take photo pledges: create a space where students can take photos with their pledges to treat each other with respect.
  • Share the knowledge: encourage older students to share their anti-bullying experiences in assemblies or short lessons.
  • Create a positive message: using a wall in the school, encourage students to spread positive messages or drawings.
  • Review your anti-bullying policy: share your anti-bullying policy with other students and make positive changes to the policy.
  • Lead a balloon launch: make a statement by publicly sharing positive messages through a balloon launch.
  • Organise a fundraising event: hold a creative fundraising event for your favourite anti-bullying charity or school event.
  • Review your school ethos: create or review your school ethos on how all students and staff treat each other.

The Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA) has chosen the theme “All Different, All Equal” for Anti-Bullying Week 2017, because young people made it very clear during our consultation with them that they didn’t want people victimised as the “different ones” and they wanted to celebrate that we are all different. If you want to ensure that difference is understood and experienced in ways that are positive for everyone, it’s important to:

  1. Celebrate the differences in all pupils and staff, so that pupils with differences that are less common, such as a disability or a disfigurement, don’t feel especially different.
  2. Ensure all members of staff feel comfortable and confident talking about all kinds of difference. Children will pick up on any member of staff who feels uncomfortable. Create opportunities for staff to explore their ideas and discuss their feelings about difference and diversity. For example, if you have a child in school who is trans, consider whether you have accessible training or information for the staff team to ensure they are well equipped to create an inclusive environment for that young person, as well as understanding the correct pronouns to use.
  3. Allow children to talk about things that they find different so that they can explore their ideas and attitudes. Using statements (such as “we are all equal”) without context and explanation can sometimes create the opposite effect and make people feel like they “stand out” more. For example, you could talk about the history of disablism to share how the disability rights movement came about and show why it is important that people are given equal rights.
  4. If a pupil has a disability, disfigurement or something that makes them appear “different” to others, make sure you work with them to discuss what they want to share with others. Support them to define themselves and take the lead in their own lives.
  5. Ensure all pupils have a strong sense of all the things that make them who they are. Also, look for shared interests and commonalities that they share. For example, can they talk and ask about pets, favourite school subjects, favourite spare time activities, favourite music or favourite YouTube clips etc. It is important to enable and develop every child’s capacity to ask and be interested in class mates so that everyone can get to know everyone else as whole people and not labelled people.
  6. Avoid talking to other students about a classmate’s difference, outside of the parameters they are happy with, even if they ask. If points 3 and 4 are already well covered then it will be quite straightforward to encourage a curious or doubtful youngster to get to know their classmate for themselves.
  7. Some children may need help to develop ways to communicate information about themselves. For example, if someone communicates differently or finds it hard to express themselves.
  8. At the same time, other children might need to learn how to communicate with a classmate who communicates in a different way or finds it hard to communicate. For example, the class/school may learn Makaton or British Sign Language.

We never want Anti-Bullying Week to scare particularly younger children. It’s an opportunity to celebrate good-quality anti-bullying work in schools, share effective practice and acknowledge and talk about where we might be going wrong.

We want it to be a positive week. That’s why this year we have introduced a new element to Anti-Bullying Week aimed at primary schools.

On the first day, (Monday, November 13) we will be asking schools across the country to hold an Odd Socks Day for Anti-Bullying Week. Aimed at early years and primary school children, the day encourages young children to wear odd socks, celebrating their uniqueness.

We are really excited to have children’s television personality Andy Day supporting Odd Socks Day with his band Andy and the Odd Socks.

Odd Socks Day is designed to be fun. It’s an opportunity for children to express themselves and appreciate individuality. There is no pressure on the children to wear the latest fashion or for parents to buy expensive costumes. All they have to do to take part is wear odd socks to school, it couldn’t be simpler!

Please share your activity with us on social media. Use the hashtag #AntiBullyingWeek and #OddSocks. We love to see what you’re doing. Share your videos, artwork and messages with us, and we’ll do our best to pass them on!

  • Martha Evans is national coordinator of the Anti-Bullying Alliance.

Further information

Anti-Bullying Week is from Monday 13 to Friday 17 November 2017. Find out more about Anti-Bullying Week and Odd Socks Day for Anti-Bullying Week and get free resources at

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