YOUNG campaigners have picked up a glittering award for their work in beating the bullies.
Venerable Bede CE Academy has been awarded the city’s Gold Anti-bullying Chartermark for its commitment to keeping bullying at bay in the school.
Launched four years ago, the Tunstall Road school’s Bully Buddies scheme has grown dramatically and won a number of awards, including two national ones.
Led by teacher Paul Roddy, with a committee of young organisers, there are now 114 Bully Buddies of all ages across the school, giving help, advice and a listening ear to any fellow pupil in need.
The school has three “safe zones” where pupils can speak to a buddy.
The bully is also offered help by the buddies, who help them deal with their own problems.
Cameron Storey, 14, said: “We give them the chance to talk to us. Often it is easier to open up to someone your own age about what is happening.” The committed youngsters carry out a lot of the work in their spare time promoting anti-bullying issues, including giving talks to parents groups, governors and at other schools.
Older youngsters say they have seen a huge change in the atmosphere of the school since the Bully Buddies project started, and the number of reported incidents of bullying has dropped to less than half.
Mr Roddy said: “There is a caring culture at the school where people want to look out for each other.”