An incredible trip to Calcutta







I’m Bip Ling and for the past five years I’ve been writing my blog, DJ-ing and modelling for Storm Artists. My mother and I recently flew to Calcutta in West Bengal, India and I wanted to tell you about my trip. Both my grandparents and my mother are Bengali. I myself am half Bengali and half English and I was born and raised in London. 

On a visit to Calcutta in 2011, my grandmother introduced me to the Piyali Learning Centre, a school for girls in a village outside of Calcutta. I was both curious and excited to visit the school and meet the students. Most villagers in Piyali live on less than £1 per day, which means that school is not an option for the local girls. Most often these young girls work to support their families. Girls may work as domestic servants farming in fields, many suffer abuse and in most cases they are married off while they are still children.


The PLC school was founded by Deepa Willingham in 2003 when she founded PACE Universal, a charitable organisation that works tirelessly to provide education and improve the prospects of girls in Piyali.  PACE stands for: Promise of Assurance to Children Everywhere, and they partner with the Rotary Club International.

I sponsor five girls in the school, and last week I caught up with them as they celebrated ten years of PLC school with the opening of their new school building. I first visited the Piyali Learning Centre in 2011, when the school wasn’t a proper building as you can see. The girls looked absolutely happy to be studying.

standing in row

When I arrived in Calcutta I couldn’t wait until the celebration to see my girls. I set off to Piyali two days before the big celebration from the busy city of Calcutta. On the way we passed many people selling flowers, spices and vegetables on the sides of the roads. 

The teachers who work at the PLC take the train from Calcutta. It’s a big commitment for the teachers to commute everyday, and the journey can take up to two hours each way. 

When I finally arrived at PLC after an hour and a half drive, the head teacher Kristine Perdersen welcomed me. I was absolutely amazed by the new school building! It was really like a dream, like an oasis in the village! As soon as I arrived it was the girls’ lunch time. The gorgeous Bengali girls filed up into the new canteen, waiting for their food. They were all so well behaved queuing. This girl was one of the youngest pupils at the school. So cute!

little girl

The girls of PLC were so thrilled to have guests, they really did give me lots of attention before they had to head into the brand new assembly hall for the celebration rehearsals.

After lunch I took a tour around the new classrooms. There was a very exciting atmosphere in the air. PLC have provided new desks, white boards and chairs and they made the girls so happy!

I asked the girls that I sponsor to show me their homes. I was interested to see how they lived. All of the girls live in huts without clean water and only two of the five girls that I sponsor have electricity. It was humbling to see the reality of how they live. 

It made me sad to see young children in the village who clearly do not have the privilege to be educated. Walking to each of the girl’s houses I realised that sponsoring five girls meant so much to their lives, which hardly cost me anything to donate! It brought tears to my eyes, learning how often a girl’s birth is considered a burden to a family and they may be forced into marriage at a young age. Some girls are often abused too. That’s why it’s so important to educate the girls, so they have a voice. 

school desks

The day of the celebration, Sunday 2nd December 2013 was an absolutely beautiful positive day. Everyone who has been a part of the school came. A group of the American sponsors attended as well as the parents of the girls. Most of the parents of the girls are illiterate. The school really needs their encouragement and support to keep the girls in school. I was so pleased to see so many of the parents and siblings attend the event.  

So the celebrations began. It was so adorable to see the young girls perform a song and dance. The older girls performed a light show, about the history of the school. The new school is now in fact the third location of PLC. Deepa thanked the teachers for their hard work educating the girls of PLC. The girls at the end of the program all came out with huge bright signs, with one of them saying “Hear my voice”. It made me cry, it was so beautiful.

After the performance I caught up with my girls that I sponsor, in the outfits that they wore for their dance routines. They looked so beautiful.


Deepa was born in Calcutta, She told me that she was privileged to be educated and she wanted to give back to the world so she started PACE and the PLC. She also caught up with the girls after their performance. Deepa showed the guests the plans for the school so they can educate more girls. We ate, whilst the younger girls were so excited to play on the “Jungle Gym” playground set up for the first time! I even had a go! :-)

To sponsor a girl at the Piyali Learning Centre it only costs £215 a year. That covers their education, food, medical and school uniform. Education is key to beat poverty. It is so important that the girls learn how to look after their community and about personal hygiene too.

Thanks for reading!

Bip Ling 

Congratulations to Sam Bailey!






Hello Hello! Pips Taylor the Interactive Presenter on The X Factor here with your second dose of backstage gossip from the X Factor Final this weekend.

Our X Factor winner has been crowned as Sam Bailey – very well deserved!

Yesterday was a busy one for me as I was filming  at Wembley Arena, watching the show and then hosting The After Party.

For the Party I wore an Iris & Ink leather pleated skirt, a white shirt from Topshop and an Amen Couture waistcoat. My necklace is Finchittida Finch and on my feet were my favourite Raphael Young wedges.


Yesterday I roamed around backstage a bit and came across the Twitter mirror.


I also caught a bit of Katy Perry’s rehearsal and spotted Elton John too! The show was amazing!

Here is a snap of Elton and Gary’s dancers before they went on stage.


What a show – watching from the arena for the first part was brilliant. Here is a snap of Keith Lemon chatting to judges in the ad-break!

keith lemon

After the show I went to our green room. Here’s what want on. Matt from Kingsland Road ironed his shirt.

matt ironing his shirt

Jay was a bit peckish.


Kingsland Road performed at the after party.

kingsland road performing

All of the X Factor contestants were there – here is the lovely Shelley Smith.


Me with Sam Callahan and Luke Friend.

sam and luke

Me with Matt Richardson.


And of course your X Factor winner – Sam Bailey!

sam bailey

Hope you enjoyed the show and have a lovely Christmas. If you need your X Factor fix you can go to the site and watch all our backstage content here.

You can follow me on Twitter @pipstaylor and Instagram @pips_taylor.

All the gossip from backstage at The X Factor finale





Hello, hello! I’m Pips Taylor the Interactive Presenter on The X Factor. Each week I interview the finalists backstage and get all the gossip. This weekend is The X Factor final at Wembley and we are half way through the Live Final Weekend!

I have been here since Friday filming backstage videos, interviews – here is a little tour of the Wembley arena. This weekend I have the pleasure of hosting The X Factor After Party.

What a show it was last night! I was sitting next to all of the old X Factor contestants who were on their feet and singing along supporting their pals on the stage.


The show was amazing and Nicole and Sam Bailey blew the roof off the stadium! Gutted to see Luke go but his duet with Ellie Goulding was awesome.

The Killers

Here are a few backstage snaps:


The show is enormous and this is just some of the equipment it takes to put on.


I ran into Jedward when they were rehearsing – how fun was their performance last night?


So our After Party starts after the ITV1 & ITV2 shows. Everyone came down and all the ex-finalists were dancing and watching at the front of the stage. The stage is awesome with a huge gold glitter X!


We had a special performance from Hannah Barrett and then we had a little chat on stage – she has been gigging loads and can’t wait for The X Factor tour!


After Hannah’s performance those cheeky Rough Copy Boys performed.

For yesterdays filming I wore a Shakuhachi dress, Pucci Necklace, Finchittida Finch earrings and Zara boots.


I bumped into the lovely Abi Alton.


As I was leaving I saw Nicky and had a cheeky picture by the ITV Christmas tree!


Enjoy the show tonight and I will be back with more backstage gossip tomorrow when we will have crowned out the X Factor 2013 winner!

Follow me on Twitter on @pipstaylor and Instagram @pips_taylor.


Week 6: Family holiday

TV presenter and mum Jenni Falconer

Jenni, her husband James and their two year old daughter Ella are taking the plunge and are embarking on a very public potty training.

Week 6: Disneyland Paris
We booked our trip to Disneyland Paris before we decided to potty train Ella, the timing probably isn’t perfect but Ella just couldn’t wait any longer to meet Minnie Mouse! Minnie is her favourite character and her favourite cuddle toy is a Minnie Mouse.

Our trip was certainly very interesting. It was the first time we travelled a really long way during potty training. We drove to Eurostar, spent two and half hours on the train, and arrived at the hotel with no accidents – how good is that!

Jenni Falconer-BLOG1

I actually packed a huge suitcase for all of us, which had a few clothes for James and I and then nearly the whole of Ella’s wardrobe, we didn’t use half of it in the end. James did say ‘how many accidents do you think she is going to have?’ I just wanted to be prepared.

Obviously Disneyland Paris was hugely exciting for Ella, but she was brilliant at telling us she needed a pee and the Dry Like Me pads were really handy. She did have one false alarm when we were queuing for the Mad Hatters ride and we left the queue and went to the toilets and nothing happened – so we had to queue up all over again – better safe than sorry though. My fear was that Ella having an accident on a ride and not being able to do anything until it stopped.

It was so amazing for her that she had some long naps during the day as we were up at 7/8am until 11pm as there was so much to do. One evening we were out for dinner and there were loads of children there, Ella was playing with some boys who were slightly older than her and one ran over to me and said ‘pooie’, Ella had gone but not even realised, very funny.


We did have some confusing moments, Ella calls Minnie – Mimi; Mickey – Mick and Pluto – Pooh. It’s very cute but pretty confusing when she’s been potty training and suddenly screams ‘poo poo poo’. I get ready for action seeking out loos and getting a change of clothes out of the bag only to realise she has seen Pluto nearby.

Back home
Things have changed at home now, Ella is now much better with her ‘number twos’, but has had a few ‘number one’ accidents which haven’t been a problem for a couple of weeks. I think as our normal routine has resumed Ella is continuing to learn for herself her body’s signs that she needs to go to the loo. I do count myself lucky though as some of my friends have told me funny stories about what their children do and one of them keeps on pooing behind the sofa which is hilarious.


I have now come to an end of my six week potty training blog and I am so proud of what Ella has achieved, she is going a bit back and forth in her successes at the moment, but she is going in the right direction. I think she has done brilliantly and there have been some very funny moments I can embarrass her with when she is older.

I have found writing the blog invaluable, it gave me strength to continue and not to back track or give in or say to myself that Ella isn’t ready. I think it has been really beneficial for Ella as if I hadn’t been doing the blog I might have been less committed, I found the support of the ‘How To Potty Train’ book and the Dry Like Me pads really ensured our successes. I hope my experiences and views have helped others not to panic and to keep going. It has been a great way for me to support Ella at this time in her life and I hope you have enjoyed it.

Week 5: Distractions, inspiration and pride

TV presenter and mum Jenni Falconer

Jenni, her husband James and their two year old daughter Ella are taking the plunge and are embarking on a very public potty training.

Week 5:
We have completely nailed number ones, however, numbers two seem to be a bit more difficult. Ella is able to say she is ready to go but then it happens so fast we don’t get to the toilet in time, I am sure that she will learn to understand what her body is doing before too long.


Dry mornings
Ella is now waking up in the morning with a dry night time nappy. One night she woke up and came to find me to tell me she needed a wee – what progress! I didn’t want to wake her properly, so I took her to the toilet and she just sat there whilst she was peeing and cuddled me – it was so sweet. I think she might get up in the night and go by herself soon.

Daddy and naps
James was looking after Ella quite a lot this week and she did soil her pants a few times and he has come up with very funny way of dealing with the pants. He holds them in the toilet and flushes it so it washes everything away – the lengths someone will go to to avoid washing something – although it is a genius idea.

She has started to nap a bit more and I think I am going to start using a Dry Like Me night time pad as a nap doesn’t warrant a night time nappy but that would offer her some protection just in case – the dilemmas of potty training!

Jenni Falconer-BLOG1

Ella needing a wee came in very handy the other day during a playdate. The kids were in the garden playing on the slide everyone was freezing but they wouldn’t come inside no matter what we said. It was only when Ella told James that she needed the loo, that we managed to get everyone inside.

Since we started potty training our friends have been really encouraged by the progress Ella has made, and a few have started with their children. A lot of people say that you should only potty train children in the summer but I think it really depends on whether your child is ready, if you think they are just go for it.

In the ‘How to Potty Train’ book, there is a lovely ‘officially being a star potty trainer’ certificate to give your children and I decided that it was time to give this to Ella, she loved it and was really pleased, it was lovely.

The three of us are off to Disneyland Paris this week so I am just hoping it is all is going to be ok, check in next week to see how we got on. The trip will really show us whether or not we have fully cracked potty training. I have to admit I look forward to the day I can leave the house without a load of spare clothes!

Week 4: Two steps forward, one step back

TV presenter and mum Jenni Falconer

Jenni, her husband James and their two year old daughter Ella are taking the plunge and are embarking on a very public potty training.

Week 4:
After thinking Ella and I had cracked it, this week has been more challenging. We have had a couple of problems with number twos…luckily both times we were at home. It’s a bit frustrating as I thought we were out of the woods and was hoping that Ella had made the transition out of nappies in record time. Although Ella is still very good at being aware of needing to go it is the number two’s seem to creep up on her.

After her few accidents we talked about what to do when she needs to go for a number two, I told her that she needs to shout ‘POO’ so we know to react quickly. I need to be more prepared and ready to drop everything and get Ella on the potty as quickly as possible but with minimal fuss.

Jenni Falconer-BLOG1

James returned from America this week and he was really impressed about how we were getting on, he really appreciates that I took potty training on and is very proud of Ella for making such fantastic progress.

Travel and False Alarms
Last time I mentioned we were going to a friend’s house which is about 1½ hours away, it all went well and there were no accidents in the car. When we got there we visited the toilet about 15 times, although she only actually ‘went’ three times. But it is better to be safe than sorry, especially when you are at someone else’s house.

The false alarms appear to be a combination of attention seeking and used strategically to get out of things out of she doesn’t want to do – for example eating food she doesn’t like. Although the other day, whilst we were having dinner she needed the toilet and saw nothing wrong in wanting to take her dinner with her to the toilet. Although I tried to point out that this wasn’t particularly hygienic, she insisted and promptly took her fish fingers with her!


I haven’t yet worked out when it is a false alarm and I am not prepared to take the risk as I know she will call my bluff and I will be left with a mess to clean up.

Ella has had a few play dates in the last week and she isn’t as good as telling me she needs to go. I don’t know whether it is because she is having so much fun she forgets, or she’s distracted, or maybe even a bit embarrassed. Luckily, we didn’t have an accident but we had a number of close calls and dashes to the potty.

She did have one wee accident while she was napping, we didn’t know what to do as Ella isn’t really a big napper and we didn’t put a nappy on her on this occasion, but it isn’t a big deal as accidents are all part of the process.


Now that I am in my fourth week I would just say to any parents who are deciding whether to start potty training to be brave and, if their children are showing the right signs, go for it. The first couple of days are really hard but persevere as it is worth it. There is no longer a stinky nappy bin and we are now saving a fortune on nappies, as we only need one nappy for night-time.

I have found the Dry Like Me pads brilliant, we used the Early Day pads for the first couple of days and since then have been using the Original Dry Like Me pads which have been key to Ella’s learning. We now just have to learn how to use the Night-time Dry Like Me pads, but that won’t be for another week or so.

On the whole she seems very proud of herself, as are James and I.

Week 3: Potty sliding, number twos and shops

TV presenter and mum Jenni Falconer

Jenni, her husband James and their two year old daughter Ella are taking the plunge and are embarking on a very public potty training.

Week 3:
Week three has been going very well, Ella has fully embraced using the potty and makes me take it everywhere.  On Sunday we went to a local pub for lunch, throughout the meal she announced that she needed a pee and we would walk to the toilet with the potty under one arm. To be honest, I think she enjoyed going to the loo like an adult and the attention she got as she didn’t always need to go.

Shop Squat
The most hilarious moment happened on one of our first outings to the shops since removing the nappies. Ella squatted in the middle of the shop and shouted at the top of her little voice ‘Mummy Poo’.  She of course doesn’t yet realise adults don’t discuss these things, but I found it adorable. The only problem was that I was unprepared, although she was wearing her Dry Like Me pad, I didn’t have the potty or a change of clothes, luckily we got home in 15 minutes and disaster was averted.

Jenni Falconer-BLOG1

Potty Sliding
Ella has also developed an ingenious method of moving around on her potty. She was sitting on the potty in the downstairs toilet with her tennis racket and ball, she hit the ball and it went all the way down the corridor to the front door. Instead of finishing what she was doing and then getting the ball, she simply slid all the way to the front door, picked up the tennis ball and slid back to the toilet. She loves sliding round the house on her potty – it is very funny.

Number 2s
It took a few days but Ella managed a number two in the potty, her first one was with my mum and the second one was with the babysitter. I was starting to think that she didn’t want to go in front of me, but in the end she did and I was strangely proud and gave her a high five!

Learning to recognise the signals
Looking back on last week, it has taken about five days to trust her when she tells us she needs the loo and now the majority of the time she actually has to go. We have only had one accident since my last blog and it was my fault, I was on the phone and didn’t hear Ella say that she needed to go and she had an accident whilst I was on the phone.




Out and about
We went swimming the other day and I decided not to risk it and put a swimming nappy on her as I just couldn’t cope if she went in the pool. During the lesson she said ‘Mummy, pee pee pee’, she wouldn’t go in her nappy and wanted to use the toilet which was great. I bought a portable toilet seat which goes on the top of an adult toilet and she managed to hold it in until I got her to the toilet but went almost immediately so she really has progressed with learning how to hold her pee. She is beginning to prefer the portable toilet seat to her potty as she loves flushing the loo.

She is now wearing the original Dry Like Me potty training pads which are slightly thinner than the Dry Like Me Early Days and she isn’t treating these as a nappy at all and I feel this has really helped with her progress. The next issue I have is that I don’t know when to take the pads off, she has had a really good couple of days, but I don’t want to take them off too early.

Pat on the back
My mum left last week and I had to work one evening so had to get a babysitter in. She is also a nursery teacher and she thought Ella had picked up potty training really well, this filled me with pride that Ella is doing so well.  I just hope it continues to go well, I heard that it is very normal to have to take a step back during the potty training process, so I know I am not out of the woods yet.


Week 2: Accidents, Successes and Progress

TV presenter and mum Jenni Falconer

Jenni, her husband James and their two year old daughter Ella are taking the plunge and are embarking on a very public potty training.

Week 2:

Once Ella had recovered from her cold, the nappies came off last Saturday. I was prepared for the first couple of days to be difficult as I had spoken to my neighbours who have older children and they confirmed the first couple of days can be quite tricky (and messy) for both the parents and the child.

At first poor Ella just couldn’t understand why we were doing it. She definitely didn’t understand what to do. I then became worried that we were doing it too soon; even though we had talked about it with Ella last week it seemed that she missed the security of her nappy.




Unsurprisingly, Ella had a lot of accidents on Saturday, she got through quite a few pairs of big girl knickers and one pair even went into the bin.  There were even a number of outfit changes. By bedtime on Saturday, both mother and daughter were knackered and Ella fell straight asleep in her night-time nappy.

Sunday continued to be much of the same. I have to admit I don’t think I appreciated how time consuming potty training would be. Ella has been very clingy and wanting her mummy, which is understandable when she is experiencing change. James has been very supportive and kept telling me that I was doing a great job and now that we have started it was important to keep going. Whenever I wavered, he quoted the ‘How to Potty Train’ book to give me encouragement which was sweet.

The Dry Like Me pads have been a good half way house, at first Ella thought the pads were a type of nappy and therefore felt normal and comfortable. A number of her pees were absorbed by the pads. However, on one occasion the pad couldn’t hold all the pee (as they are not designed to hold a full pee, as that would be a nappy!) and Ella was very stressed out, she didn’t want anyone to change her and was ashamed of what had happened.

I was amazed that my two-year-old daughter could feel such an emotion and felt bad for her, but had to keep telling myself that accidents are all part of her learning when she needs the loo.   I just kept saying to her it’s ok, you will do it right next time and then she did.




Thankfully, Monday was a different story, Ella had put all the pieces of the puzzle together and she understood what needed to be done. She started telling me when she needed a pee and now goes over to her potty and sits down. She doesn’t always go and sometimes sits there for up to 20 minutes but she is starting to understand the signals her body make when she needs the loo.

Ella likes to move her potty around with her so she doesn’t miss out on anything and also so she doesn’t have to run too far when she needs a wee. She prefers the plain potty downstairs as she thinks the duck potty is a toy and not a place for pee! We only had one accident on Monday.

Tuesday was even better with no accidents at all. We introduced high fives and chocolate buttons as rewards, she gets one chocolate button for a pee and two chocolate buttons for a poo – Ella is yet to receive two chocolate buttons at once as no number twos have happened in the potty yet. She must be holding in her number twos as she does them first thing in her night-time nappy.

James is now away for ten days and it is great that my mum has been able to come to stay, she has been doing a grand job whilst I have been out at work. It really is an all-consuming part of parenting and I am very grateful that my mum can spare her time to help me with Ella.

It was a tough week, but looking back we have made huge progress and I feel we have turned a massive corner and I mustn’t be tempted to put the nappy back on.



The nappies are off!

TV presenter and mum Jenni Falconer

Jenni, her husband James and their two year old daughter Ella are taking the plunge and are embarking on a very public potty training.

The six weekly blogs will bring potty training to life through the eyes of a busy working celebrity mum, following the peaks and troughs of what is an eventful, humorous, and sometimes stressful episode for parents and children alike.

Jenni Falconer, aged 37, is a broadcaster and presenter best known for TV shows such as This Morning and National Lottery Live. The Scottish presenter married actor James Midgley in 2010, Ella is their first child.


Week 1:

The time has finally come to begin potty training with Ella, I gladly agreed to pen the potty training blog some time ago, but now that it is here I confess I am quite nervous. I think the nerves come from wanting to make it as smooth a process for Ella as possible. Truth be told, whilst both James and I are keen to get Ella out of nappies, we are slightly reluctant as this means that our baby is really growing up!

Getting Ready:
From reading the How to Potty Train book, week 1 is all about preparation, which is really about ensuring that Ella is ready, but as busy working parents we have had to make sure that we are ready as well. The book is fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone embarking on potty training in the next few months, it is full of great advice, handy tips and signs to look out for during the whole process.


Helpfully, James is jetting off to the States for work next week. To say he is washing his hands of potty training would be a bit harsh, but the timing is a little suspect. To be honest it’s an exciting project that he’s directing and he can’t really turn it down in favour of a spot of potty training, so it looks like he’s off the hook…but until then, he’s getting involved as much as possible!

Stepping into the breach in his absence next week are my mum and dad who are visiting from Glasgow and will be spending ten days with me. This is really helpful as it gives me flexibility, if something comes up with work I know Ella will be in good hands. I understand potty training can be a bit stressful so I want Ella to be surrounded by people she knows well as we start to introduce changes into her routine.

First, let’s get through week one….the ‘preparation week’ and for this I have pretty much cleared the decks as much as I can in terms of work. I am helping out on the Heart FM London Breakfast Show with Jamie and Emma Monday to Friday this week. I have been out and about giving prizes to listeners all across London but the early starts mean I am normally back by 9am so it is great to know that James and my mum will be at home with Ella.


Is Ella ready?
In terms of gauging whether Ella is ready, she has started telling me that she has gone for a wee, which is not something she did before. At the weekend we bought her a new duck potty; it has a lid like a proper toilet and quacks every time something goes in the bowl. We are yet to put the batteries in so it isn’t quacking yet. Ella has been sitting on the potty with her nappies on with a wet wipes in one hand and a nappy in the other.

When I pointed out that she doesn’t need to wear her nappy on the potty she didn’t seem at all happy and says she needs her nappy (at least that’s what we think she’s saying!). So I have been asking her whether our dog Alfie, a puggle, wears nappies or her favourite toys like Minnie Mouse wears nappies (this is what the potty training book advised). She says yes, but after a bit of ‘to-ing and fro-ing’ she eventually concedes that they don’t actually wear nappies. Although she does occasionally try to put a nappy on some of her toys so I think we have still got a bit of a way to go.

As she is only just two she can’t fully converse but she knows exactly what we are saying. We have been reading ‘Poppy and Pablo’s Big Routine’ in the ‘How to Potty Train’ book which has helped explain the first steps of potty training. This means when we were in the bathroom and I ask her where does Ella go, she understands and points at her potty and I ask where do mummy and daddy go, she points at the toilet so she really does understand and I am confident that she is ready.

Next Steps:
I had planned to remove the nappies today, but she has had a cold and is a bit under the weather, so I am going to wait until she is feeling better, I don’t want her to feel like we are rushing it. Once she feels better we will take them off and see how it goes (eek!). I have completely cleared my diary at the weekend so even if it takes all week for her to fully recover, things can officially commence on Saturday!

Anna’s top tips to Beat the Bullies

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Anna Williamson

For many young people, going back to school is exciting and fun. But for a huge proportion of children, school can be a nerve -wracking and fearful experience. For some it may be a feeling that passes quickly and easily. But for others – sadly a growing number of children – bullying can be a huge issue, which in turn can lead to solitary suffering, negative feelings and problems coping at school, and at home.

Support from family, friends and indeed the school is so important in helping identifying and dealing with bullying. I speak to lots of children who are suffering at the hands of bullies, and they often reveal that it is too scary and embarrassing to tell someone about it.

Anna with Buddy - Childline

Anna’s top tips to Beat the Bullies

· Young people are telling us that bullying follows them around. It’s in the playground and the classroom, but also on their devices – it’s in their pocket. You used to be able to close your front door and have some respite, but social networks are integral to their lives now and they can feel really low because they can’t escape it.

· Encourage your child to, and perhaps implement, some downtime or “time out” to give them a rest from their phone/social networking. For example, make a rule that the phone stays outside the bedroom when its “lights out”. Talk to your child about this, explain why, and ask their thoughts on what you’re suggesting, and in turn listen to what they have to say. Together reach a mutual decision, this should help take the pressure and responsibility off your child, and in turn demonstrate your caring and understanding.

· The good thing about social networks is that they give children the power to support each other. Encourage your kids to stick up for their friends, to send them supportive messages, and remember that they can report, block or delete people and comments that upset them. By encouraging children not to suffer alone, and to look out for their mates, is a huge part of identifying and tackling bullying issues, and indeed bringing it out into the open.

· The back-to-school feeling can be overwhelming, especially if they’re worried about returning to school because of bullying. The best thing to do is talk about it with someone trusted – a friend, a parent or ChildLine. As a parent offer that opportunity up, ask your child about how they’re feeling about school, choose an appropriate time and create a calm safe environment to allow your child to talk.

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· Encourage your child to talk to you if there are aspects of school that worry them, because children may have difficulty speaking up – they might feel silly or embarrassed. Assure them that they can tell you anything that’s on their mind, give them the time they need to open up, and most importantly, listen.

· Going back to school or joining a new school can be a big upheaval. If there is a problem in your child’s school life, be prepared to take it to the school – but work out a way forward between you and your child so they’re part of the process. Team work between parent and child is both powerful and important in helping to tackle issues.

· Parents can also check out NSPCC’s advice about listening to your children on

ChildLine is a free, confidential service for children and young people in the UK. Call 0800 1111 or visit

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