Anti Bullying Certification
The ABC (Anti-Bullying Certification) project aims to develop a certification process to support schools in developing an effective anti-bullying policy, which includes sensitive attention to more general social inclusion and to 21th Century conflict solving skills among both students and school staff. The certification procedure is not just a “check” of written anti-bullying procedures but also contains a social analysis and needs assessment, integration of ongoing goal setting and planning, staff and student training and a guide pointing to effective measures to structurally enhance the school learning and working climate. A key aspect of all this is how students and teachers deal with conflicts and whether the school functions as a model of non-violent problem solving skills and methods which are lodged in role-modelling democracy. The main aim of the certification process is not to prescribe best practices to the school but to enhance ownership and making own choices in an appropriate school policy.
The project has 6 partners, each working with one or two schools in their own country. The project partners start the project by elaborating a draft certification proposal, which has been developed by Centro Montesca and reviewed in the European Anti-Bullying Network, into a testable toolkit.
The project will develop four tools to help schools make a high quality self-assessment: a description of the procedure, surveys for students and teachers, training and visitations for students en teachers and a toolkit with suggestions for high impact follow-up interventions.
In each country and on the European level, a feedback committee will be formed to organize expert feedback on the draft instruments. The experts on the feedback committees will be asked for comments on first drafts of the instruments and on the semi-final instruments after they have been tested in schools. The instruments will be ready in the end of 2019.
In the schools
In the schools, filling in the surveys is the first step of the certification process. In the schools, the second step is to analyse the assessment results and decide about necessary measures. Then the implementation follows during one school year. A staff training is a key element in any strategy. Another key element of successful anti-bullying strategies is organizing “golden weeks” at the start of the school year, during which student get to know each other, built social group process and agree about rules for pro-social behaviour. At the end of the school year, the impact of the pro-social/anti-bullying strategies is evaluated.
The project ends six months later. This gives the schools the opportunity to organize the “golden weeks” in an improved way. It gives the other partners the opportunity to review the certification procedure, the training and the manual on effective measures, to translate, publish and disseminate them. This is done during multiplier meetings in the participating countries and in Brussels.
The EAN certification
After the project period, the European Anti-Bullying Network (EAN) will sustain the certification strategy by stimulating her members to implement the procedure (at a cost-covering rate) in their own countries. EAN will also periodically update the procedure, the toolkit and the EAN certification training. To cover these European level costs, EAN will register the "EAN Certification Procedure" as a trademark and incorporate the costs for quality maintenance in the European certification training.
The project also aims to stimulate the introduction of national and European mechanisms to set quality guidelines for anti-bullying policies in schools. The national and European feedback committees will have a central role in this. While discussing the concrete instruments for certification, the project will stimulate also a discussion about if there are possibilities to set quality guidelines in countries and on the European level for anti-bullying policies in schools.
The Anti Bullying Certification project has partners from 5 countries: Greece (Smile of the Child), Italy (Fondazione Hallgarten Franchetti - Villa Montesca and CESIE), The Netherlands (GALE - The Global Alliance for LGBT Education), Spain (Asociación Cívica de Comunicación y Educación “Sophia” - ACCESO) and the UK (Merseyside Expanding Horizons). GALE is the lead partner. If you are interested to apply for a position in one of the national or in the European Feedback Committees, please contact one of the partners or firstname.lastname@example.org.