Year 11 pupils from Pontllanfraith Comprehensive School in Caerphilly have been taking part in a project as part of the EU-backed PUPIL scheme (Pupils Understanding Problems In their Locality), led by Cynon Valley Crime Prevention Association.
Through the scheme they undertook research which highlighted the difficulty facing youngsters in making the transition from primary to high school. They also attended an anti-bullying conference in London which gave them the idea to hold their own event for year six pupils in their local area.
The one-day conference, held at Caerphilly council’s Ty Penallta, was aimed at raising awareness of the impact bullying can have on young people and measures to address it. In particular, the pupils will deliver presentations and launch an anti-bullying film which they have made.
Eleanor Jones, Cynon Valley Crime Prevention Association, said:
"The pupils have worked tirelessly throughout the year in preparation for their event developing resource packs, goody bags and bully boxes to help other youngsters who may feel excluded because of bullying and are failing to reach their full potential at school.”
The PUPIL project is a unique scheme targeting 11-19 year olds affected by issues such as bullying, substance misuse and anti-social behaviour to help them develop their skills and prepare them for the workplace.
Working alongside teachers, education and community workers and the police, it aims to identify those most at risk of becoming detached from the world of work (NEET, Not in Education, Employment or Training) and the best way to address the specific problems faced by each individual, including help with basic skills such as numeracy and literacy.
Ms Jones added:
“The pupils are supported to develop their own action plans to tackle these issues by undertaking projects which will raise their confidence, skills and employability, as well as making a valuable contribution to their communities.”
The projects undertaken, such as arranging today’s conference, focus on issues including bullying and substance misuse and are linked to the Community Safety Action Plans of each local authority.
One of the pupils who helped organise the conference, Nathaniel Easthope, said:
“We chose to look into the issues of bullying as we believe it is something that affects many of us at some point during our lives. Through this event we hope to put an end to bullying altogether. “
The PUPIL scheme operates across Torfaen, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly, Bridgend, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Blaenau Gwent and has been made possible with support from the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.
Deputy Minister for European Programmes, Alun Davies, said:
"I am pleased that we have been able to invest EU funds to tackle some of the issues which may prevent young people from learning to their full potential and address the underlying problems that can lead to longer term unemployment and economic inactivity as well as promoting good citizenship.”