Aldridge State High School Year 12 students Rhys Dixon and Teah Nugent are pleased with the results of the Peer Skills program.
Aldridge State High School Year 12 students Rhys Dixon and Teah Nugent are pleased with the results of the Peer Skills program. Robyne Cuerel

Anti-bullying program to help nervous students

BRIDGING a gap between year levels is helping nervous young students ease their way into their first years at high school thanks to a program helping to reduce bullying.

Peer Skills, run by UnitingCare Community, takes a different form in each high school that has adopted the program.

At Aldridge State High School, the program sees senior students paired as mentors to younger classes just entering high school.

It directly helps students in their first year of high school, at a time when, Australian research shows, bullying behaviour peaks due to rapid changes in social skills and demands on students.

Year 12 students Teah Nugent and Rhys Dixon are mentors who took Year 8 students under their wing last year and have continued the program this year with the now Year 9 students.

The key to having younger students prepared to talk is in being open as well, they say.

"They know a lot about me," Teah said.

"I don't see them as a Year 9 student, I see them as a friend."

Rhys said building relationships with their mentors had made it easier for the younger students to blend into high school.

Aldridge's Peer Skills facilitator Emily Baumann said the program was mutually beneficial in making both the younger students and their mentors more resilient.

"It's ... got a huge component of self-care," she said.

Where to go

  • Visit bullyingnoway.gov.au for more information on National Day of Action Against Bullying, held on Friday
  • Children can turn to the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, Lifeline on 131 114 or head to headspace.org.au to also access help


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