What is the All Together programme?
For three years the Anti-Bullying Alliance have been leading on programmes, with partners at the Council for Disabled Children, Achievement for All and Contact a Family, to reduce the bullying of disabled children and young people and those with special educational needs. This is now named the 'All Together' programme.
Although anti-bullying practice in schools has come a long way, there is still much progress to be made as evidence shows that disabled children and young people with SEN are significantly more likely to be bullied or victimised than their peers. Disabled primary school pupils are twice as likely to suffer from persistent bullying as their non-disabled classmates, and more than twice as many children with SEN say they experience bullying “all the time” at age seven, than those without SEN. You can read more research about disablist bullying here.
The Anti-Bullying Alliance, with its partner organisations and funding from the Department for Education, set out to promote effective practice for reducing the bullying experienced by disabled children and those with SEN. Training was developed for schools, professionals in the children’s workforce and parent/carers, along with hundreds of resources to support schools and other professionals. In the last year of the programme, a dozen “Champion Areas” – local authorities throughout England and one academy chain – were selected to pioneer effective practice. Champion Areas have recognised that disablist bullying is a challenge for them and, over the course of 2015/16, have received training and support from the ABA and partner organisations to become leaders in the field of reducing the bullying of disabled children and those with SEN.
In the last year, the programme has delivered training to 550 schools, including 100 trainee teachers, in addition to nearly 500 children’s workforce professionals and almost 200 parents and carers. Through online training, which complements the programme, but is available to anyone outside a Champion Area too, at least 2,500 parents and 6,000 professionals have been reached.
The schools that took part in the training were encouraged to monitor the progress of their school’s anti-bullying practice through the Anti-Bullying Alliance Wellbeing Questionnaire. In just three months, the schools showed results: some have seen substantial reductions in the number of disabled children and those with SEN who are bullied and, by the end of the programme, have ensured that no disabled children / those with SEN are being frequently bullied. In contrast to the beginning of the programme, disabled children and those with SEN in a number of the schools were as likely as all other participants to feel safe, have good relationships with teachers, and enjoy going to school. This improvement in pupils’ experiences at school is one of the first steps to a healthier school environment, where the rate of bullying is low.
Champion areas and champion schools, which have really taken on board the ethos of the programme and effective anti-bullying practices, will continue to action development plans to reduce bullying in their vicinity. It is also envisaged that they will be able to support neighbouring areas to adopt a similar approach to reducing the bullying experienced by disabled pupils and those with SEN in the future.
History of All Together: