Every year, 6th year are trained as Buddies to support the new 1st year pupils. This year, they’ve also been taught to be Heartstart trainers.
Each 1st year pupil will receive a special Heartstart pack containing a small dummy (a mini-Anne), a DVD and all the equipment they will need to learn how to provide CPR. The 6th years will train their buddies and the buddies will take their packs home to train their own families.
The 6th years also received invaluable advice in workshops lead by Mrs McDonald and Mrs McGuigan, along with Gillian McAirn from the Motherwell Youthwork Team. After finding their teams, pupils practiced and enhanced their communication skills, empathy and body language through a series of tasks.
Eleven Summer School pupils enjoyed a day of team-building at Fordell Firs, along with three 6th year Buddies. The Partnership Officers, Deborah King and Angela McDonald, organised the day to help boost pupils’ confidence while providing an opportunity for staff to ensure they were happy and progressing well at Our Lady’s.
The pupils spent the day doing archery, caving, climbing and abseiling with pupils receiving massive praise for conquering their fear of heights or their fear of enclosed spaces or simply applying themselves to the tasks.
It was a valuable experience all round: in particular, the 6th year Buddies were able to support and encourage the 1st years and provided real examples of what they could achieve.
6th year pupils took part in Buddy training after school on Tuesday afternoon with Partnership staff, Deborah King and Angela McDonald, DHT Mrs Mulholland and Pupil Support staff, Mrs Connor, Mrs Darroch and Mr Martin.
Following much giggling during the initial ice-breakers, the mood became more sombre as the group watched a brief video made by Glencryan and Firpark Schools about the suicide of a bullied child. This really demonstrated to the pupils the importance of the Buddying Scheme, as it provides an older friend for younger pupils, possibly a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear. Everyone was silent as the video ended.
The group then got organised into pairs to practise listening skills – the first person spoke for two minutes while their partner listened attentively. On the second occasion, the second person spoke, but their partner ignored them. This caused a fair bit of hilarity, but a lot of discomfort for the speaker. The second group noted that being ignored made them feel as if what they had to say was unimportant.
After analysing what made a good listener, the group set to work on a pile of magazines, looking for images to create a collage looking at how people are taken at face value and the dangers of judging from first impressions.
The group then worked on the importance of confidentiality, followed by a look through the Buddy Training Manual, which describes the skills and qualities of a Buddy as well as the benefits of Buddying for both 1st and 6th years.