A GROUP of pupils play a vital role in self-policing any bullying at Muirkirk Primary School.

The Positive Behaviour team’s role is to prevent things getting out of hand, particularly in the playground where they work with members of staff.

There are no major problems with bullying at Muirkirk PS with prevention being seen as vital in stepping in quick if something happens that could escalate.

We spoke to the pupils — five of them are in P7 and one in P6 — Alex Clarkson, Ryan Hamilton, Josh Hamilton, Robert Bradford, Blair Smith, Eva Purdie.

They said: “If a pupil tells one of us they are being bullied, we will find out what was being said and what had happened, then tell a teacher or playground assistant, who will get it sorted out.

“The school captain and vice-captain along with the playground monitors also work together to deal with incidents. They tell each other if something is going on and let the staff know right away.

“We also have a buddies system where the older pupils, mainly from P7, look after the younger ones and it helps us get to the bottom of any trouble as we are able to find out what was being said and who said it.

“This also applies to younger siblings where the older one looks out for their brother and sister. One of the team’s young cousin came to him with a problem and it was sorted right away.”

Another system which is proving a big success in the school is called Circle Time which enables staff to be made aware of any pupils whose behaviour is causing concerns.

“It mostly takes place in the outdoor classroom with members of the team and a teacher.

“We have what is called an egg and you have to be holding it before you can talk.

“Sometimes it can be to talk about things that have happened but Circle Time can be about anything.

“We also have a thing called bounce-back which is really helpful.

“This is where we learn about the positive qualities that we should aim for — fairness, respect, honesty, trust, responsibility and support.

“But we have covered all of them in our classwork, so bounce back is when we talk about what we have done to help other pupils know about how they should behave.”

All these things combined ensure that there is a high standard at the school and close monitoring and teamwork makes sure they do not slip.

When asked if all the schemes work, there was a unanimous yes from the team with one of them adding that they feel they help keep the school ‘stress-free’.

Acting head teacher, Carol McCulloch, said: “As a school, we participate in activities which shift from a focus on behaviour to a focus on relationships. We believe respect is fundamental to relationships.”

East Ayrshire Council say they want every child in our schools to grow up free from bullying behaviour.

Their policy states: “We are fully committed to making sure children and young people become confident individuals and responsible citizens.

“We take bullying very seriously and work to prevent it. Should an incidence of bullying occur, we will respond quickly and effectively.”

Are schools doing enough?

Can more be done or are you confident that your child is safe at school?

Contact our newsdesk and tell us if your son or daughter has been affected and what was the outcome — positive or otherwise.

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