An innovative anti-bullying system has completed its first week in place at Oldham Hulme Grammar School, with the immediate impact being hailed as a success.
Tootoot, set up by Michael Brennan in 2013, is an app through which pupils can send anonymous messages to counsellors and mentors, receiving guidance in return without the fear of repercussions from bullies.
With staff and peer mentors already in place at Oldham Hulme, which looks after over 1000 children between the ages of three and 18, the impact of Tootoot has been instantaneous.
“Within 24 hours of launching the app, we had two cases online and were able to deal with some concerns at once,” said head mentor Hannah Plews.
“This powerful way of communicating has and will continue to have effective results in helping us help our students in their day-to-day lives.
“Even after such a short period of time we have already seen firsthand what Tootoot can do for students immediately and for years to come.”
The app, which has also been rolled out at nine other Greater Manchester schools, was launched at the school last Wednesday as part of its week-long ‘YOUnique’ campaign raising awareness of personal issues.
School can sign up and enjoy 12 months free of charge, a generous trial offered by Brennan after he battled through personal experiences of bullying as a child.
“I was bullied as a young boy and as a result I was forced to move schools. I wanted to help other students who were being bullied,” explains Brennan, who also implemented the UK’s first peer mentoring scheme in 2008.
“I spent two years developing tootoot alongside teachers, with the goal of providing students with a safe, anonymous environment to report and resolve their concerns discretely.”
Not limited to school hours, the app allows students to report issues 24 hours a day, mirroring the development of cyber-bullying and also encouraging the reporting of trouble arising at home.
While reports are initially anonymous, a student can be manually identified if a matter of serious concern is raised.
Image courtesy of Bill Thompson Trillium Lakelands District School via YouTube, with thanks.