New Bridge School has a long established and very successful Buddy Scheme. The scheme promotes positive role models and encourages friendships between pupils. It encourages turn taking, sharing and respect for others, and raises self-esteem and self-confidence in the individual.
Pupils are very motivated to take part; they wear their official Buddy badges with pride once they have completed their training and their photograph is added to the display in the main school reception area which shows all the current members of the scheme.
In Year 7 pupils can become a ‘Bud’ if staff feel they are able to carry out tasks such as taking messages, picking up photocopying and helping other less able pupils in class. All the jobs a Bud is asked to do are directly related to their own abilities and capabilities, and are designed to give them a little independence whilst still being observed by staff. This is a responsible position and pupils who would like to become a Bud have to complete training around appropriate behaviour.
From Year 8 pupils can complete additional training to become a Buddy if staff consider they are trustworthy and able to assist wheelchair users around the school. A Buddy can still carry out the same tasks as a Bud but they have the extra responsibility of assisting wheelchair users inside the building. If it is felt a pupil is trustworthy but not able to assist a wheelchair user they can continue to be a Bud throughout their time at New Bridge.
Older students may also move on to become an Outdoor Buddy after having assisted wheelchair users in and around school over a period of time. An Outdoor Buddy will have to successfully complete additional training to be able to assist wheelchair users outside on uneven ground and paved areas outside of the school.