SCHOOL FOCUS: Oasis Academy Fir Vale
Oasis Academy Fir Vale is a school where pupils are heavily involved in helping to create the happy and safe atmosphere around the corridors and in the classroom.
Children at the primary school, off Owler Lane in Fir Vale, are helping to minimise the risk of bullying by helping deliver training that makes their school such a great place to grow and learn.
The Anti-Bullying Ambassador Programme, known as The Diana Award after Princess Diana, has been introduced at the school. As part of the scheme, young people received training to become anti-bullying ambassadors in the school and community.
The pupils get support, top tips, advice and inspiration to prevent bullying and ensure everyone feels safe and happy in their school.
The ambassadors celebrate their anti-bullying work and share good practice throughout the year.
Pupils received their training in March and there are now 30 student ambassadors aged from six to 11.
Whereas many schools focus on ‘anti-bullying week’ across the country in November, the academy’s 30 ambassadors meet every month with Kevin Cooper, the school’s anti-bullying leader, to discuss which activities and focused work related to anti-bullying they shall carry out in the coming weeks.
Once these discussions take place, the ambassadors return to their class and support their teachers in the delivery of the chosen activities in weekly circle time sessions.
By embedding anti-bullying techniques across the whole school, throughout the year, and delivered by pupils, preventing bullying has become everyone’s responsibility.
Mr Cooper, inclusion lead at Oasis Academy Fir Vale, said there has already been a great response from all pupils.
“We are proactive in promoting good social skills, respect and empathy amongst our pupils,” he said.
“Although we’re in the early stages of embedding this particular practice, we have already seen a really positive response from all of the children.”
“Our student ambassadors have carried out their work in March and April relating to kindness, courtesy and compliments. By using a range of positive activities, they are supporting everyone in school to feel good about themselves and to be proud of who they are.”
The academy has also been recognising awareness dates to help focus the pupils’ work on wellbeing.
Pupils marked Compliments Day on March 1 and the International Day of Happiness on March 20.
Principal Helen Round said: “At Oasis Academy Fir Vale we learn and grow together in an inclusive community, where every child can flourish in a happy learning environment. Our pupils learn from day one that they are valued, and that their wellbeing and happiness is extremely important at the academy.
“Our new student ambassadors have done some great work on encouraging their fellow pupils on positivity, and also on preventing bullying.”
Staff and pupils at the school have also recently celebrated been removed from special measures after impressing Ofsted inspectors.
The school, which opened in September 2014 as part of the national Oasis Community Learning Trust, is now rated as requires improvement - a step up from the inadequate’ rating it was given in 2016 when it was put into special measures.
The most recent Ofsted report on the school praised improvements in teaching, safeguarding and pupils’ progress and highlighted the impact principal Mrs Round and her leadership team have made. Mrs Round has said the report was a positive step forward, but added that the school was on a journey and there was still a lot of work to do to improve further.