Ocean Academy has secured a gold award from the Anti-Bullying Alliance for ensuring the school is a happy place for its students.

The accolade from the charity is recognition of the measures in place which allow the children who attend to thrive, feel secure and listened to.

Mel Brown, a Year 6 teacher and Anti-Bullying Lead at the Poole school, was in charge of carrying out an audit through a whole school questionnaire and an action plan of strategies subsequently put in place.

Some of the changes have included introducing Peer Mediators to tackle any friendship issues in the playground and a Buddy Bench which can be used by any pupil and signals that they would like a friend to talk to and sit with.

Mrs Brown had been due to attend a Parliamentary Reception at the House of Lords organised by the Anti-Bullying Alliance to celebrate achieving the gold award but this was cancelled due to coronavirus.

Mrs Brown told the Bournemouth Echo: ‘’A whole school questionnaire was carried out and from that questionnaire I asked what the children felt was needed and an action plan put in place. The children said they would like Peer Mediators [Children who go out into the playground and sort out friendship issues with each other] and that they would also like a Buddy Bench.

‘’Most children of this age experience friendship issues and the strategies we have in place help them realise that most of the time problems that arise are ‘mean moments’ rather than bullying and these can be resolved by talking things through.

‘’The children at the school are happy and well-cared for. The anti-bullying measures we have in place are designed to encourage children to talk through their feelings and to resolve issues that might arise through teamwork. The aim is that as they get older, they will remember to use what they have been taught to help them tackle personality issues they might encounter in the workplace where bullying still occurs.’’

The Anti-Bullying Alliance’s All Together programme is a whole-school anti-bullying programme offered free to schools across England.

It is mainly based online and includes access to an online platform that allows them to audit their current anti-bullying practice and create an anti-bullying action plan that is tailored to their needs.

There is online certified training for staff and access to a questionnaire which tracks wellbeing among pupils and offers guidance on positive changes that can be implemented.

Principal of Ocean Academy, Jo Quarrie, said she was delighted with the Gold award from the ABA. She said: ‘’It’s absolutely fantastic to have this recognition from the Anti-Bullying Alliance. It’s a reflection of the work we do every day to educate pupils, teachers and parents about what anti-bullying is.’’