Kids urged to talk

Year 8 pupils from Academy 360, Jessica Bulmer, Kayley Callan, Shelley Shakesby and Paul Bevan help to launch a new website for support and advice for pupils at the school.
Year 8 pupils from Academy 360, Jessica Bulmer, Kayley Callan, Shelley Shakesby and Paul Bevan help to launch a new website for support and advice for pupils at the school.
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GETTING problems off their chest is proving the perfect tonic for pupils at a Sunderland school.

Academy 360 says its latest project, Let’s Talk About It, which helps students to get access to confidential support and advice on a wide range of issues, is proving very successful.

The Pennywell school launched the scheme at the start of the autumn term and it is already popular with students of every age.

Paul Prest, chief executive of Academy 360, said: “We are finding that pilot year groups and students are using the service readily to access support for issues that are affecting them. I’m delighted that the students themselves have played such a major role in both developing and delivering the campaign.

“Along with the great progress that Academy 360 is making in improving educational standards, essential work like this is designed to ensure that we deliver a safe environment in which all young people can flourish.”

Let’s Talk About It has been a campaign theme throughout the term and was developed to give all students a forum through which to express how they feel and to learn the skills and strategies that will help them deal with those feelings.

It is also the access point for young people at the academy who need practical advice and support for the issues that are affecting them, along with other services when required.

The project has a dedicated webpage, www.academy360it.co.uk, which enables students to request an appointment with a member of staff and the page also includes links to nationwide support agencies like Childline, Kidscape, NSPCC, Winston’s Wish and Bullying UK.

For those students who do not have access to the internet, self-referral forms are made available around the academy and the whole campaign is promoted heavily through posters and leaflets on the premises.

The project aims to target different issues during the school year and this year’s focus has been cyber-bullying, with students being made aware of the potential dangers surrounding internet use, paying particular attention to social networking sites.

And staff are displaying and promoting information about internet safety, so students always have access to the key advice they need.