Following the recent unveiling of “Buddy Bench”, staff and pupils from Saint Paul’s were invited to take part in a live radio programme to discuss the project.
The pupils were live on air on Premier Christian Radio’s, Big Breakfast Show, which is aired nationally on Saturday mornings.
Saint Paul’s wanted to send a message of inclusion, kindness and goodwill at this time of year by unveiling its buddy bench in the school playground. The staff and pupils were inspired by the story of Christian Bucks, an eight year old from Pennsylvania who came up with the idea of a designated bench where students feeling lonely or upset can seek friendship. The idea has since spread to schools around the world.
The pupils talked on the Big Breakfast Show, a vibrant family show, about how they raised the money to buy the buddy bench with the aim of eliminating loneliness and fostering friendship in the playground.
The Saint Paul’s buddy bench, which bears the message “no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”, has been placed in the Year 7 play area. The school has appointed a group of Year 10 students as “students offer support” leaders (SOS for short), who will sit on the buddy bench at lunchtime and help the younger pupils make friends.
Ms Diane Keary from Saint Paul’s said:” The Buddy Bench project has been a very positive experience and the children have benefitted greatly both the younger Key Stage 3 pupils and the older Key Stage 4 pupils. The pupils have got to know each other and have built some very positive relationships.”
“It was an excellent opportunity for the pupils who were able to convey messages of kindness and inclusion to a national audience,” explained Mrs Angie Holland from Saint Paul’s. ”The interviewer was very interested in their approach and their positive messages. Also as well as spreading the message of reaching out to others, the experience boosted their confidence and they gained confidence in public speaking.”
Deputy Headteacher, Miss Tina Wilkinson, said “To have their voices heard across the country was very exciting for the pupils. We try to encourage our pupils to be as kind and considerate to each other as possible and to extend this approach to their families and those in the local community. Sometimes it’s the simple things that can make the biggest difference!”