AEGIS accredited UK guardianship organisations, like Bright World, offer independent care and support to overseas students but with Anti-Bullying week upon us we ask the question; What can UK guardians do to help prevent bullying?
As Anti-Bullying Week unfolds, focusing on the theme "Make A Noise About Bullying," we reflect on the crucial role our guardians play in creating a safe and nurturing environment for international students studying in the UK where they can feel comfortable to speak out about bullying and about mental health.
Banter features heavily in the theme this year with discussions about when banter goes too far and how do we avoid phrases like ‘it was just banter’. By raising awareness the Anti-Bullying Alliance helps children and young people recognise the signs of bullying, but with bullying still a key issue in schools what role do UK guardians play and how can we help?
An international student's guardian provides an important extra blanket of care while they are studying in the UK. With parents not resident here, we do all we can to take their place as their independent representative.
One of our priorities is to ensure our students are sheltered from the harmful impact that bullying can cause. We know that by just being there and doing our jobs we are already on the way to making a difference.
Our host families play a pivotal role in safeguarding our students and watching out for any issues that concern them. Spending extensive time with our students, they may notice changes in behaviour and act as the first line of defence against potential issues. they may recognise changes in a student's behaviour.
Similarly, our local Bright World Buddies may also feel concerned or notice something is not quite right during their one to one pastoral visits.
With this in mind, knowing how to recognise potential bullying is crucial in protecting our students.
Bright World Local Coordinators, or Bright World Buddies, are fully trained in safeguarding and so know what to do and who to contact if they are concerned about as student's welfare.
Parents choosing Bright World can be assured that the safety, security and wellbeing of the child comes before everything else. Host Families are all offered safeguarding training as well so they can keep up to date with the latest updates and areas of concern in; "Keeping Children Safe in Education." Homestay families are also provided with information on how to help them to support a student who may be dealing with the effects of bullying behaviour, or online abuse.
We have a very clear reporting procedure and all Bright World staff are trained to note down any disclosures from students and must provide a full written report for our Director of Safeguarding who will action the matter accordingly.
By law, all UK state schools must have a behaviour policy in place that includes measures to prevent all forms of bullying in school. The policy can be decided by the school but all teachers, pupils and parents must be provided easy access and understand how to be receptive to signs and indicators of bullying.
As educational guardianship is not required by law, there is no official guidance which asks UK guardians to produce any such policy. Gold standard AEGIS accredited organisations, such as Bright World, must however follow guidance below:
It is Anti-Bullying Week and so we are joined by Fiona Lee from Safeguarding.co to have a natter. Fiona provides bespoke Safeguarding and child protection advice, training and consultancy for Organisations who work with Children and young adults.