The National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence (NDA) is held on the third Friday of March every year. The NDA is Australia’s key anti-bullying campaign for schools, and provides an opportunity for school communities across the country to take a stand together against bullying and violence. The NDA is delivered by Bullying. No Way! to help schools find workable solutions to bullying in their communities.
Celebrating 10 years of positive action
Friday the 20th of March marks the 10th anniversary of the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence. The initiative has continued to grow every year and has contributed positively to hundreds of school communities since 2011.
The Shape the Future of the NDA survey of 200 schools found that involvement in the NDA had positive impacts, with longer involvement linked to stronger results. Of the schools who were involved in the NDA for more than five years, 73% reported positive changes for students, such as a greater understanding of bullying and how to manage it, increased reporting of bullying and more positive relationships between students and staff. Sixty-six percent of those schools also reported positive changes for staff and school climate, including a greater sense of working together with a shared focus. One staff member reported that the “overall the climate of the school has become more inclusive. The students understand the school’s values and what it means to show respect to everyone.”
The National Day of Action also coincodes with Harmony Week, which runs from the 15th to the 21st of March every year. Harmony Week is an opportunity to celebrate Australia’s cultural diversity and the great benefits of living in a multicultural society like Australia. Harmony Week, like the NDA, is about fostering respect, inclusiveness and a sense of belonging for all people.
Take action together
The theme for the 2020 National Day of Action is ‘Take Action Together’. This theme aims to elevate the voices of students and empower young people to be a part of the national conversation. It aims to bring students, staff, parents and the broader community together to prevent and respond to bullying and violence. Research shows that bullying has a negative impact on everyone – not just those who are being bullied, but also those who perpetrate and witness bullying. The research also suggests that a well-managed, integrated, whole-school approach to bullying is most likely to result in sustained positive change. Bullying programs for high school students and primary school school students should be preventative, not just responsive. Everyone has a role to play in creating a supportive, harmonious school culture.
School theatre companies taking action against bullying and violence
School theatre productions are a great way to start conversations about bullying and violence in your school. When implemented as part of a broader anti bullying program, school shows can help deepen the discussions around issues such as bullying, cyber bullying, bystander behaviour, respect and responsibility. Theatre productions for schools, such as those offered by Brainstorm Productions, present different perspectives and act as a stimulus for further discussion in the classroom.
Brainstorm Productions will be performing shows in primary schools and high schools across Australia on the National Day of Action, and throughout the school year. Each performance is accompanied by a suite of curriculum-aligned classroom resources, allowing teachers to expand on the issues after the performance. And Brainstorm’s performances don’t just support school-wide anti bullying programs – they also support the school’s existing cyber safety, mental health, resilience and student wellbeing programs.
Primary school productions The Human Race, Buddies, The H Team and Saving Lil & Archie provide students with realistic strategies to cope with bullying and build more positive relationships at school and online. The characters model practical skills such as assertiveness, cooperation and problem-solving through exciting live theatre. The high school productions Cyberia, The Flipside and Verbal Combat invite students to think critically and creatively about bullying, cyber bullying, mental health, relationships and the ethical use of technology.
Go to bullyingnoway.gov.au/NationalDay to register as an official NDA member school and download the information kit. Check out Brainstorm’s Facebook page on Friday the 20th March to see how the actors are helping schools celebrate the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence.
And let’s take action together to prevent bullying and violence in our commuities.