Sharpen up your school!

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Did you know that according to a recent study, 47% of 14 year olds get bullied? When something goes wrong at school, children do not always report those incidents, whether it is because of intimidation, fear of making the issue worse if they are seen reporting it in the school office, lack of confidence and peer pressure to name but a few. As a result, bullying can go unchecked and can progress to unacceptable levels. However there is help available for students to have an education where the focus is on education and individual growth and not making life for others miserable and troubled.

The Sharp System (School Help Advice Reporting Page) is an information sharing network where pupils, parents and members of the community can report incidents to a member of the Police or a trusted member of school staff and receive help and advice on how to deal with certain types of behaviour. It also serves as a communication tool to deliver messages across the community offering educational information on issues such as bullying, drugs, and antisocial behaviour

This system allows children to voice their concerns, worries and fears without being afraid of the consequence of the bullies by electronic communication which protects identity. The confidential voice it gives the students is invaluable and can lead to a happier and more secure school life. Until recently this system was not used by Essex schools, however earlier on this year Notley High School became the first school in Essex to become a part of this system.

The notion to enter into the Sharp System had been in the pipeline for many months, and in May this year this was introduced as another layer to the school's already excellent system to combat unacceptable behaviour and as a method to install trust and confidence for the students. The system was launched to the students through assemblies and has had a very positive reaction thus far. Pc Anna Collins, the Safer Schools Partnership Officer for Notley High has a regular presence in the school and offers the students support, advice and help. Notley High, already reported by Ofsted to have exemplary student behaviour, wanted to offer all members of the school a multi-layered structure which can not only tackle issues such as bullying through educational DVD clips and information on welfare and safety but to offer those experiencing problems the opportunity to report it safely and without intimidation and through a channel which they are familiar with.

Rachel Kelly, Assistant Head Teacher, maintains that the benefits and support of the system can be equally helpful to parents who are then able to make contact with the school regarding incidents they are aware of and use the information available. Although everyone is pleased with how the Sharp System has been received in the school they are eager to take it out into the community. Schools are often considered to be the core of the community, consequently what impacts one will inevitably impact the other and therefore the help, advice and information it offers should be extended to all.

The students do not take advantage of this all the time but with such a strong structure already in place in the school this is not surprising. However even if it has helped only one student and given them a voice and the resulting help from The Sharp System then it can be counted as a resounding success.

By offering students a thorough and multi layered structure of support, protection and help, Notley High are ensuring that their school encourages the very best behaviour and consideration of others.

The Sharp System is an excellent scheme for every school to take part in..

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