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Friday, 21 January, 2000, 10:53 GMT
School for bullying victims

Juliet Chippendale Juliet Chippendale is now recovering from bullying


A school for has been set up for the victims of bullying.

The Red Balloon Learning Centre in Cambridge is seeking to provide a safe and reassuring environment for pupils have been regularly bullied in their own schools.

As well as academic lessons, the 10 first pupils at the school are given counselling and support designed to restore the children's confidence.

The pupils are encouraged to talk about their experiences, which have often involved prolonged periods of physical and verbal assaults.

The school's youngest pupil, 11-year-old Juliet Chippendale, recalled the sense of isolation when there was "no one to talk to" about the teasing at her old school.

Peter Parnwell, a 15-year-old at the school, attempted suicide after two years of regular attacks, during which he suffered black eyes and broken bones.

"I know what other children who are bullied are going through, because I've been there myself. There is a way out, but you have to have somewhere like this to come to," he said.

Peter Parnwell Peter Parnwell was regularly beaten up by bullies


The school's founder, Carrie Herbert, says that she set up the school when she discovered that were no places for pupils who were too scared to attend their own school.

"Students come here damaged. We take that damaged child and we nurture them as if they were in an intensive care incubator in a hospital. We listen to them, nurture them, we believe them, we trust them," said Ms Herbert.

Local education authorities pay for pupils to attend the non-profit school and it is intended that pupils will eventually return to mainstream schools.
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See also:
10 Jan 00 |  Education
Samaritans launch online schools pack
07 Jan 00 |  Education
Father's fears for bullied daughter
03 Nov 99 |  Education
Students launch anti-bullying cards
14 Dec 99 |  Education
'Bullies are healthiest pupils'
04 Jan 00 |  Education
Heads urged to tackle bullies
Links to other Despatches stories are at the foot of the page.