From 12th – 19th students and staff at Northgate supported Anti-Bullying Week with the Anti-Bullying Alliance. The theme this year was ‘One Kind Word’. Year 8s, Evelyn, Seren and Kyra tell us all about the week and what students got up to.

Last week was anti-bullying week. During form time, we have been looking at an anti-bullying powerpoint, that was created by our Wellbeing Team, to help prevent bullying around the school and raise awareness. We have been asking questions about bullying and learning about the real definition of bullying, what to do if someone is being bullied and how bullying is caused. We looked at different scenarios and what you could do to spread kindness and stop bullying. Finally we looked at how to disagree kindly. Members of the Wellbeing Team also went into the lower school assemblies to highlight the importance of speaking out against bullying and being kind to one another. They played the following video from the Anti-Bullying Alliance.

As a whole school, we have been trying to spread ‘one kind word’ and have been trying to create a ‘ripple effect’ of kindness throughout the school community. An example of our ‘one kind word’ project would be ‘compliments’. Giving occasional compliments to people around the school makes people happier and feel good about themselves. This may encourage a chain of kindness around the school. If one person gives a compliment, and they share a compliment, it ripples throughout the whole school. Complimenting people makes you feel good about yourself and others and gives you a positive mindset. If someone compliments you, it also makes you feel good about yourself and boosts your self-esteem.

On Friday, we had a visit from Irini Mando who is currently touring, and we were lucky enough for her to come visit us. Irini Mando is an urban-pop singer and songwriter based in London. Pre Covid, she supported Gabrielle and Kaiser Chiefs on their UK arena tours and is now signed to Island Records. Irini recently performed at over 20 festivals in the Summer and is due to be a support artist for a big arena tour this year.

She asked us if any of us have struggled with our mental health and what we did during lockdown to make sure we were happy. She talked about mental health and how to deal with grief, bullying, stress of workloads and body image. Irini talked about how she found it difficult in lockdown, especially with her job as an artist. She told us about ways to take your mind off troubling and worrying things such as drawing, exercising, and focussing on one thing at a time and not multiple all at once. Irini Mando is originally from Greece and Germany, and told us she worried about her accent, but learned that it isn’t a bad thing. Even though we can get support from teachers and family members, it was amazing to know that someone like Irini has the confidence to talk about these things, so it means we can to. She also spoke about how important it is to put yourself first when it comes to how you feel and said ‘How can you help someone else with their problems when you may have your own problems?’

That was inspiring for us to believe in ourselves and our individual differences that make us unique. We were also inspired when she told us she first sang to an audience at the age of nine.

We were lucky enough to have Irini perform for us. She sang Ring Ring, MVP(most valuable player), Outlaw and Trouble. The songs were very motivating and we had the opportunity to join in with one of her songs – Ring Ring. Her songs were really enjoyable and it was a great experience for everyone. Having Irini talk to us about anti-bullying and mental health made a difference to the way we view this topic and helped our understanding of Anti-Bullying Week. We also received individually signed photos and Irini also had her photo taken with us!