Abbot’s Lea School students win NOW Festival award for powerful anti-cyberbullying video

Abbot’s Lea School students were recently honoured with the coveted ‘Best Online Piece’ award at the prestigious NOW Festival for their impactful video addressing cyberbullying.

The Woolton-based school, which delivers high-quality specialist holistic education for students aged 3-19 living with autism and other complex needs, is a keen supporter of the annual festival and the valuable work that takes place alongside the event.

The NOW Festival aims to engage young people in a creative discussion around the topic of mental health, through whatever ‘NOW’ issue is selected for that year. The theme for 2024 was ‘overcoming adverse experiences’. Stressful or traumatic experiences can greatly impact children and young people throughout their lives.

The Abbot’s Lea students, who are also proudly part of the UK-wide Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) programme, explored ideas around cyberbullying and ways to tackle it through different mediums. 

After deciding that a video would have the most impact, the students built a storyboard based on how the video would unfold, shot by shot. Collaboratively, the group meticulously planned each scene, taking on roles in both filming and acting to bring their vision to life.

The video was well received by fellow students, staff and families, for its powerful message and artistic execution. Encouraged by the positive reception, the students submitted it for consideration at the NOW Festival.

The video went on to receive the award for ‘Best Online Piece’ which was announced at this year’s event.

One student said: “We are very happy to win this award. We have never made a video before so it was a great opportunity to learn new skills and also create something that has meaning behind it. We hope this video highlights some important issues that children, and adults, face online each day.”

Headteacher of Abbot’s Lea School, Mrs Ania Hildrey, said: “A huge congratulations to our young filmmakers! From the initial concept to the final edit, they have shown great dedication, creativity, and resilience in addressing such an important issue.

“As a school, we are committed to building a culture of empathy, inclusivity, and social responsibility and it is truly inspiring to see our students drive for positive change in our society.

“The issue of online safety is very high on all educationalists’ agenda and this is no different for us here at Abbot’s Lea. Our students, like other young people in our society, are active online and they need all the support they can get – from adults and responsible peers – to stay safe in cyberspace.

“This project is a great testament to their stance on the issue of cyberbullying and I am immensely proud of the role models they are growing up to be!”

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