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Shepway Schools Project
A small group of adults are trying to make their way into local schools to talk to children about bullying. The difference is, they know what it's like to be bullied.
The Shepway Schools Project is a small number of adults with learning disabilities and by going into schools in Shepway, they hope to educate students about how they want to be treated and why they aren't different.
Shepways Schools Project
Presenting to pupils
They have been going as a group for three years and have no plans to stop just yet. "I feel we should carry on doing it and getting through to the children how we want to be treated" says Caz.
Raymond can tell they have changed in how they present to young people in the district: "Personally the first time we started we were a bit nervous at first but now everybody thinks we are professionals. It's been good actually"
As part of their presentation, Shepway Schools Project talks to students about their feelings when they have had experiences from bullying. It is however, very much an interactive talk.
Joining them at Hawkinge Primary School, I was amazed to see how quickly the young pupils became involved in a discussion about how they would feel.
As part of their accompanying slideshow, there are photographs of the group as babies and small children. On each slide the pupils have to guess which baby out of four matches with either Cas, Raymond, Diana, Jo or project leader Elvis.
One of the teachers who has been part of the audience thinks this part especially was a great way to show them that when children are babies, you can't tell many differences just by looking.
Despite their age, they get the point, immediately, and some of the responses when they are asked why they have been shown the pictures actually brings a lump to my throat they are so intuitive.
It's clear the presentation has had an impact and I speak to the children after to see what they made of it.
You can listen to what the pupils thought here:
I wonder if Miss Dawe thinks an impression has been made on her class: "I think generally as a group I would say they are quite empathetic already but I think they normally think about that in terms of things like race.
"I think to be able sit down and see a group of individuals that they might have considered different or possibly even feared because they might not understand them has really actually helped them gain an understanding."
Pupils asking questions
Cas, Raymond, Diana, Jo and Elvis are clearly delighted with how it went, giving them a further boost of confidence before they try to get into some more schools.
If these pupil's feedback is anything to go by, the presentation is a winner.
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