Our 12 'Yays' of Christmas for 2023

We trust that you will enjoy a well-deserved break during the Christmas season following a year filled with activity. Our heartfelt gratitude extends to all those who have tirelessly worked to enhance the lives of children and young people, combating bullying throughout the ups and downs of 2023. Reflecting on our recent team meeting, we couldn't help but marvel at how January now feels like a distant memory. This year has proven both challenging and rewarding for us, a sentiment shared by many as we navigate the complexities of the world. However, we really do feel that we are making progress together to develop and broaden our understanding of bullying, what works to prevent it and how we can improve how we respond when it does happen. As we approach the conclusion of another year, this remarkable achievement stands as a testament to the unwavering passion and dedication of our amazing members and the children’s workforce to help us unite against bullying. Thank you for your continued commitment, and here's to a well-deserved rest over the festive period and a hopeful new year.

Our 12 yays of christmas

According to our Zoom team Christmas quiz, there are 12 days of Christmas that start on Christmas day. We’ve come up with 12 things that we are proud of achieving as a team in 2023, our Twelve ‘Yays’ of Christmas

1. We have provided CPD training to over 40k school and wider children’s sector staff. Be it online or face-to-face, we will continue to provide training in 2024 for as long as we are able. All our online training is still available and you receive a certificate of completion for all courses you undertake and you can find all our live training courses most of which are free to take part in listed here. Don’t miss out on this opportunity and take part today.

Here's our Young ABA group talking about why it is so important to give school staff training

2. We were delighted that in the second year of our United Against Bullying (UAB) programme over 300 schools were awarded with United Against Bullying School status. UAB is our anti-bullying support programme, which is funded by the Department for Education for schools in England until March 2024 and aims to embeds skills, tools and confidence in the workforce to help to prevent and tackle bullying in schools. It helps schools to take a whole-school approach to reduce and respond appropriately to bullying incidence and particularly focus on reducing bullying of those most at risk, including those with protected characteristics. We are unsure currently if we will be able to continue to provide this programme post March 2024, but you can express an interest via the link above.

3. Anti-Bullying Week 2023: Make a Noise About Bullying was a huge success reaching thousands of schools and millions of children across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We gave out free school packs, films and social media toolkits all developed with young people. We trended across social media and even the likes of Victoria Beckham got involved! We released our research about levels of bullying in schools in England which showed 23% of pupils report being bullied in the last few weeks alone with children on FSM and those with SEND fairing the worst and poor wellbeing and school experiences among both bullied children and children who bully. We also worked with the BBC on their BBC Teach Live lesson for Anti-Bullying Week which was their most successful live lesson of the year. 

4. 6 people across England, Wales and Northern Ireland received our School Staff Award. Nominated by pupils in their school they were recognised for their anti-bullying achievements and we were delighted to be supported by Radnor Fam to bring the award to the UK with 100s of nominations received. The award was also supported by BulliesOut in Wales. All those nominated received a certificate and the winners some lovely prizes from Radnor Fam and trophies as well as a video from the Minister for Children and Families, David Johnston MP.

5. Millions of children and adults (and pets) joined in with Odd Socks Day, which forms part of Anti-Bullying Week and is supported by our patron Andy Day and his band Andy and the Odd Socks. We worked with Andy to bring you free school resources about the importance of reaching out for help about bullying, a video and song, and an Odd Socks photo competition on social media for schools to win a visit from Andy and the Odd Socks! We also ran a ‘Pets In Odd Socks’ competition on Twitter and Instagram, and the ABA staff loved seeing the adorable pictures that were shared as a result! All our Odd Socks Day resources are still on our website for you to use.

6. We worked with leading anti-bullying researcher, Professor Peter Smith (Goldsmiths University), to deliver our annual round up of all the bullying and cyberbullying research released in the previous year in the UK called our ‘Focus On Bullying 2022’. 

7. We were pleased to launch several new free online resources this year, all of which were written with input from young people. They include a toolkit for schools to help them prevent bullying and a guide and checklist about how to record and use data about bullying.

8. We have united against bullying! We have been delighted with how many new members we have this year. Our membership is the life blood of our work and integral to achieving our aims. This year we have held 5 member meetings and 6 #Take20Talks, where we hear a 20 minute presentation from a member about their anti-bullying work. We couldn’t achieve what we do without the support of our amazing members. They all have their own resources and anti-bullying tools available as well. Have a look at our members here and you can find out more about signing up to become a member here

9. We're so pleased to say that we had a new intake of our Young ABA group of young people from across EnglandThis group of over 20 teenagers, have supported us on our programme work and Anti-Bullying Week. We've provided them with training throughout the year and they've inputted into our work to ensure that young people voice is at the centre of the work we do. We thank them for their time and look forward to establishing a new group in January!

Quote from our Young ABA Group

Quote from our Young ABA Group

10. Expanding our impact, we've broadened our efforts to include Northern Ireland, complementing our existing initiatives in Wales and England. Initiating a dynamic new steering group, we've initiated collaborative efforts, connecting organisations in a shared mission to unite against bullying across Northern Ireland. 

11. 100s of people have written to their MP asking for manifestos to include our three key policy asks:

  1. Schools need anti-bullying leads
  2. Teachers must have training
  3. Schools need a duty to record

You can write to your MP here.

12. United Against Bullying Plus (UAB+) was launched. UAB+ is a two-year free anti-bullying program for secondary schools, targeting Year 8 to 9 pupils. In collaboration with Kidscape and funded by the Education Endowment Foundation and Youth Endowment Fund, it runs from 2023/24 to 2024/25. Participating schools receive a 360° audit tool, action plan, online questionnaire, and support from anti-bullying experts. The Anna Freud Centre will lead a pilot evaluation spanning two academic years, with results published in November 2025.

So that’s our Twelve ‘Yays’ of Christmas. We would love to hear yours too. Please tag us using #12YaysOfXmas. We have lots of plans for 2024 and we aim to keep providing you with anti-bullying resources from ABA and our members. We all hope you have a restful, safe and happy Christmas break and we can’t wait to work with you all in the new year.

Best wishes

Martha Evans (Director of ABA) and the whole ABA team