Friendship comes first

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By Pie Corbettpoet, author and freelance educational consultant

Use an assembly to promote a bully-free school ethos

Clare Bevan’s poem ‘The Bully’ makes a powerful introduction to a subject that all schools should discuss with its children. Tackling bullying has to be part of an on-going, daily ethos of positive relationships and deepening understanding of how others feel and how to support each other. Dealing with bullying in isolation may prove difficult – it needs to be part of a whole-school commitment to developing children’s social and emotional skills.

You will need:

‘The Bully’ by Clare Bevan from The Works 6 – Every kind of poem you will ever need for assembly chosen by Pie Corbett (Macmillan, PB £6.99) online version available from www.scholastic.co.uk/juniored; uplifting music, such as ‘You raise me up’ – there is a good version sung by Josh Groban on his CD Awake (Warner); song/ hymn such as ‘We shall overcome’ – there is a nice version sung by Bruce Springsteen on his CD We Shall Overcome -The Seeger Sessions (SonyBMG) to sing along to; special words/prayer such as ‘Together’ (see right).

Read aloud

Welcome the children to the assembly and then share the poem aloud. Discuss the ending – how does the bully feel? Why might people bully other people? Ask the children for their views on what bullying is. This will give rise to three main areas – physical bullying, verbal bullying and stopping people joining in. Take views on what is wrong with bullying.

Retell the story of ‘The Billy Goats Gruff’ – but play up the role of the troll as the local bully who won’t let anyone do what they want. Change the story so that the baby goat goes back to get his brother and then they both go back to fetch the eldest one. End the story with all three goats going over the bridge together and the troll watching them playing, somewhat enviously, because they are friends and he is lonely. The final part of the story could see the troll being invited to play with the goats, showing that they have all become friends.

Music to reflect to

Introduce the hymn or song. Remind children of the theme and that:

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