Learn more about Sticks & Stones

Sticks and Stones Anti-bullying Programme™ is Ireland’s leading award winning anti-bullying programme for schools. Operating as a social enterprise, our expertise has been honed at the coalface of bullying for over a decade.

We believe that every child should be able to fulfil his or her potential free from the damage that bullying causes.

Our Anti-bullying Programme offers a three strand approach for the whole school community

  • anti-bullying workshops for students – “Be The Solution”
  • anti-bullying training for teachers – “Understanding Bullying – Putting Policy into Practice”
  • and an information evening for parents – “Understanding Bullying – Beyond the Myths and Stereotypes“

Our programme helps children and young people, teachers and parents to acknowledge, challenge and prevent bullying through anti-bullying drama workshops for children and young people, information evenings for parent’s groups, and training, advice and support for teachers and other stakeholders engaged in promoting tolerance and social inclusion in society. Research carried out in 2008 by the Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre, Trinity College, Dublin, found that 30% of students reported that they had been bullied in the previous months. In addition, almost 25% of students reported that they had taken part in the bullying of others at school. (Anti-Bullying Centre, TCD. 2008). Our team of skilled facilitators brings extensive experience and expertise to our programme. They work with students in a highly focused, sensitive and creative process of exploration. In our snit-bullying workshops we use a carefully designed combination of communication exercises, role-play and Forum Theatre to guide the students through an in-depth discussion of the issues. It is intensive and participative – we work hard to ensure that your pupils have

  • the ability to recognise bullying,
  • the confidence to challenge it,
  • and the skills to deal with it.

Sticks & Stones has received endorsements from The Anti-bullying Centre, TCD, The National Parent’s Council, and The National Association of Principals & Deputy Principals. The Department of Education & Science’s Stay Safe Programme recommends the programme as an anti-bullying resource, and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment recommends the programme as an action project for Junior Certificate CSPE. This year Dublin City Comhairle na nÓg, (youth council), young people aged 11 to 18 elected by other young people to represent them at council level, have spent the last year working on a peer support anti-bullying programme they plan to pilot in schools. Based on their own experience of Sticks and Stones they are recommending schools use Sticks & Stones as an anti-bullying resource, which demonstrates that our programme resonates with and works for young people. Our approach is not to attribute blame to individuals, but to look at each class holistically and to examine the group dynamics at play. In particular we aim to encourage the “silent majority” to examine their role in any bullying that may take place in their class, and encourage a greater sense of empathy towards their classmates. In our experience it is rare for a child to bully alone; generally there is an “audience”, or “back-up”. Often the pupils that are providing an audience for the “performance” of the bully are doing so unwittingly – out of ignorance, or sometimes out of fear. Our anti-bullying workshops give the class a chance to define bullying and measure their actions against that; Role-play allows them to act out alternatives in a safe environment. In Ireland more people die as a result of suicide than through road accidents. UCD’s Prof Kevin Malone’s recent survey Suicide in Ireland threw up some startling statistics “The data shows there was a 40 per cent increase in the rate of suicide in 15 to 17-year-old boys and the rate has doubled in girls aged under 18.” The rate of suicide among children under 15 has also doubled. From interviews with families of children with no history of mental illness, he says, “all of them had experienced some type of significant humiliation in the six months prior to their death – either being bullied by a peer, an authority figure or being exposed to some kind of significant personal assault.” he said, “there was an over-representation of people who have been bullied”. Our anti-bullying workshops have been developed to tackle all forms of bullying including Cyber-bullying, and identity-based bullying (such as homophobic bullying and racist bullying) as recommended and directed by the Department of Education and Skills.

Our anti-bullying workshops are aimed at 2nd to 6th classes at Primary level and from 1st year onwards at Post-primary, Secondary level, and in each case are delivered at an age appropriate level. We can also tailor our workshops to target specific issues such as cyber-bullying, and cyber-safety, homophobic bullying and racism.