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Bright children bullied for "being different"

Potential Plus campaign

Potential Plus UK, the national charity which works with children with high learning potential has joined forces with Kidscape, Carers Trust, Diversity Role Models and the Autistic Society on a new project, Being Me launched today in time for Anti-Bullying week to support those children being bullied at school because they are ‘different’.

Denise Yates, chief executive of Potential Plus UK, said: "Far too many children are still facing the damaging effects of bullying at school just because they are ‘different’.  Potential Plus UK along with the other organisations we are working with are passionate about doing something about this.”

British Mensa works closely with Potential Plus UK, which supports the social, emotional and learning needs of children with high learning potential and their families.

The Being Me series has been co-ordinated by journalist Jenny Hulme, who met with children and the charities, hearing their stories of how cruel words, social exclusion or physical abuse cause harm and distress. It offers five powerful diary entries and short stories that typify ‘a day in the life’ of the young people that each charity supports. The whole series will be free to download for schools and professionals who work with children and young people.

Denise said: “I believe that Being Me could be the start of one of most important initiatives in schools to address this issue head on. Certainly for Potential Plus UK this publication shows that it is just not acceptable to bully a child because they are clever, with everything that goes with it. If just one child is supported as a result of this work; just one more pupil understands the damage that this can cause or just one more teacher knows how to help prevent it, it will have been a great success.”    

Jeff Forshaw, author, physicist and one of Potential Plus UK’s Ambassadors said in the Potential Plus UK leaflet: "It is easy to think that clever children are going to sail through school without facing many problems. However, for some children and young people that couldn’t be further from the truth. Labelled as ‘geeks’, ‘clever clogs,’ ‘teacher’s pet’, ‘swot’ or worse; being bullied can make the lives of these children with high learning potential absolutely miserable. Potential Plus UK has been supporting families and schools since 1967 to help improve the lives of these children and young people so that they can achieve their best without being held back.”