School bullies 'must know impact' - children's commissioner

By Colette Hume
BBC Wales education correspondent

image captionPupils filmed the video in Port Talbot

Children who bully others need to understand the impact of their behaviour, the children's commissioner for Wales has said.

Speaking before the launch of an anti-bullying film, Dr Sally Holland said she was keen on restorative justice.

"I don't think it's a good idea just to say 'don't do it again'," she said.

"That's wrong because they don't understand why and I think it's really important people learn about what impact it has."

In a survey carried out by the commissioner last year, of 7,000 children and young people across Wales, the vast majority of seven to 18-year-olds questioned said they wanted bullying to be at the top of her list of priorities.

Dr Holland said she was talking to children and young people about how they wanted the issue to be tackled.

Her comments come as a powerful anti-bullying film featuring pupils from Dyffryn School in Port Talbot is to be premiered.

media captionAn extract from the film - and some of the pupils talk about the experience

Called My Life as a Bully, the 45-minute long drama tells the story of a girl who becomes the victim of the school bully and his gang.

A group of 19 pupils play a leading role in the film, with the young actors members of the year 10 and 11 drama GCSE group.

Isabel, aged 15, who is one of the pupils with a part, said: "My line in the film is 'no one deserves to be bullied'.

"For such a simple line it has quite a lot meaning behind it."

Fellow pupil Sebastian said the cast and crew had bonded over the experience.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing the story come together, it's been a jumble of scenes in no particular order but it's going to be really interesting seeing them all edited," he said.

Caroline Michael, head of drama at the school, said: "It's been a great opportunity for them to work with a professional company, professional actors and see the whole process.

'Don't be afraid'

Denise Francis, from Baglan-based theatre in education company Firehorse Productions, is behind the film.

She said the decision to choose bullying as a theme came in response to demands from schools keen to get the anti-bullying message to pupils through the medium of film and theatre.

"Bullying is probably the biggest issue schools are dealing with. Time and time again when we are going into schools we're told that the biggest issue children want tackled themselves is bullying," she said.

"If you see bullying going on or you are being bullied yourself it isn't something to be ashamed of and you should speak out and don't be afraid to speak out."

The film will be premiered at Gwyn Hall in Neath on Saturday, 12 November, and will then be available to schools.

More on this story