Anti-Bullying Week kicks off today with Odd Socks Day, here at Get My Grades, we’ll be showing our support by wearing our own odd socks and celebrating our differences as well as our similarities.

My name is Bryden, and I’m the Head of SEN and Inclusion here at Get My Grades. I’ll be writing our Anti-Bullying blogs this week, as bullying is something that is very close to my heart. Not only have I experienced it first hand, but having worked in schools I have worked with young people through their experiences of bullying. Bullying can happen anywhere, to anyone, but it is never okay.

I was very lucky to grow up around lots of children from a wide range of backgrounds, races, religions and abilities. From a very young age, I was shown that just because people are different from us, it does not make them less – we all deserve equal respect and opportunities.

Unfortunately, my realisations that difference is good did not stop me being bullied at school. I have always been different but did not know it was a ‘problem’ until it was pointed out by other children at the age of seven. I was short for my age, blind in my left eye and had to wear glasses; it was these features that made me different and that made me stand out. As with many others who have been bullied, I struggled with low self-esteem and anxiety, even after the bullying had stopped. As an adult, this has been difficult, but I have not let it stop me from getting on with my life and working towards my goals. My situation was sadly not a rare one, in 2016 a survey found that at least 50% of young people experience bullying – with 19% of these being bullied every day. This is what we stand against in our Odd Socks!

It isn’t always easy to embrace your differences or push through the feelings left with you from bullying, but it can be done! One of the greatest things I ever learnt was that those who saw past my differences were the ones worth my time. People who see past your differences, or celebrate them, are people who value you for exactly who you are.

I have had the privilege to work with children and young people throughout my career, and I can safely say that no two have been the same. With each new person you meet, you will always be able to find some things you have in common, and some that are different. It might be foods you like or don’t, how many siblings you have, your favourite season, or how you see your personal space. Our unique combination of these things makes us who we are – we are all different, but we are all equal.

Watch this wonderful video from Andy Day and the Odd Socks below, which reminds us how differences make us special, and how to embrace yours. Don’t forget to rock your Odd Socks today, and own your differences! #alldifferentallequal