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School’s buddy scheme attracts sponsorship 22 February 2013

A BUDDYING scheme operating at Peel Clothworkers’ Primary School has a new friend itself after a local company pledged its support.

The popular Buddy scheme sees 10 and 11-year-olds set an example to fellow pupils, behaviour-wise, help out with the smooth running of the school at playtimes and lunchtimes, look after younger pupils, sometimes on a one-to-one basis, assist children who are hurt or frightened and even mediate in minor disagreements. Peel Clothworkers' Buddies

Buddies look out for peers who may be below par or in need of a friend, encourage fair play, organise games and look after equipment and tell staff if they spot a problem. The scheme started seven years ago when one child needed assistance from peers and a fellow pupil befriended him. That child is now proud to be a Buddy himself.

Buddies must apply for the role and attend an interview and must have their parents’ permission. They follow a rota, swapping duties weekly to maintain their interest.

In the dining room, for example, they help younger children clear their trays after lunch and man a ‘buddy post’. In the playground they coax children to join in with activities and ensure they play nicely together.

Unprecedented interest in the scheme means that this year there are 20 Buddies and 12 reserves, chosen from the 45 Year 6 pupils who wanted to join.

Peel-based Ellan Vannin Fuels (EVF) is sponsoring the scheme after it was approached by Sylvia Russell in the school’s nurture classroom Mrs Russell read about Ellan Vannin Fuels’ involvement in another primary’s anti-bullying initiative.

The company backed an initiative to encourage pupils at Willaston Primary to say no to bullies and also supported an open day aimed at passing on an anti-bullying message, led by the Isle of Man Constabulary.

EVF has pledged £300 to the scheme, sponsoring the bright red Buddy caps and yellow badges that pick out the volunteers and paying for a ‘Best Buddy’ award, featuring hands of friendship, that will be presented in July.

Thanks to the company’s support, all Buddies will receive a certificate to mark their achievements and there should be enough money left for a celebration tea party at the end of the school year.

Mrs Russell holds weekly meetings with Buddies to discuss issues and plan timetables. She said the Buddy scheme reflected Peel Clothworkers’ whole school nurturing approach. The Buddy scheme broke down barriers between younger and older children, taught participants about commitment and care and improved their own self-esteem and confidence as well as those of the pupils they are assisting, Mrs Russell said.

She said:

‘We are delighted that Ellan Vannin Fuels, which is based in our town, is so generously supporting our Buddy scheme, which is going from strength to strength and is making a huge difference to the success and happiness of pupils in our school.’

Andy Sweetman, Commercial Sales and Marketing Manager at Ellan Vannin Fuels, said:

‘When I first saw the buddies in action, I was amazed how well organised they are and how much they enjoyed carrying out their duties while displaying maturity and commitment. It is great to support such a worthwhile scheme that embeds values of caring and respect in our children.’

Simon Jones, Headteacher of Peel Clothworkers’ School, thanked Mr Sweetman and Ellan Vannin Fuels, Mrs Russell and the 20 Buddies ‘for the positive difference they make to our great school’.

Photo: Bryony Makin, Owen Crompton and Toby Kelly at the dining room Buddy Stop collecting dinner bands and waiting to take reception children to get their coats on

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