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Secondary SEAL: Background

How can SEAL contribute to the work schools are doing to reduce bullying?

When a school implements Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) effectively across the whole school it establishes strong foundations to its work to prevent bullying. At the core of SEAL are the social and emotional skills, which are all important because high levels of these skills create a social climate that does not tolerate bullying behaviour. Pupils are encouraged to develop the skills associated with empathy which drives them to refrain from hurting others and to challenge those that do so. Empathy skills can be developed further within peer mentoring schemes designed to help tackle bullying. Pupils are encouraged to build a learning community where they feel responsible for including their peers and can develop and practise the skills associated with building positive relationships, being able to make, break and sustain friends without hurting others. They are supported to learn and practise the skills of assertiveness so they become more able to resist negative peer pressure and are taught strategies to help them resolve conflicts before relationships are damaged or ill feeling escalates into bullying.

In addition, SEAL can contribute more explicitly to reducing bullying through specific learning opportunities that are designed to explore and further develop social and emotional skills within the context of a bullying incident. This gives the pupils a safe place to examine and explore the issues involved and to create a common understanding within the school community. Primary SEAL includes the theme, Say no to bullying! Secondary SEAL will build upon the good practice in this area to develop the equivalent to use during anti-bullying week.