PUPILS at a Wee County school have been leading the charge in developing new, youth-led approaches to health and wellbeing including an innovative anti-bullying message.

In partnership with the University of Strathclyde, Alloa Academy students have been undertaking a pupil-focused enquiry in a bid to improve health and wellbeing around the school.

It comes as a new anti-bullying service launched in Scotland called respectme, which aims to put the voice of youth at the centre of the discussion.

Katie Ferguson, service director for respectme, said: "Young people are experiencing bullying behaviour, they understand it and its impact, and therefore they should be the people we listen to when developing new strategies to address the problem."

The Alloa Academy programme involved pupils being involved in choosing health and wellbeing priorities for the school, via focus groups, while facilitating discussions around education.

Through this process, students identified that they wanted to include a focus on bullying, given the negative impact this has on every aspect of young people's lives, including their mental health.

They led on developing activities to address issues of bullying and gathered pupil views and the ideas have directly shaped strategy and practice at the school.

Off the back of this, changes were made to the personal and social education courses and pupils have also formed an anti-bullying group.

To reinforce their work and spread the message of positive relationships, pupils also took forward a campaign on the importance of peer influence.

While noting that peers can have a positive or even inspiring influence, the group wanted to highlight the pressures which can lead to negative experiences.

They created a campaign that helped young people think about what makes a good role model – chosing Donkey from Shrek as the benchmark. They then discussed ways that positive peer influence and role models can help contribute to an environment of respect at school and in the community.

Ben and Mia, two pupils who were the brains behind the campaign, took their Be More Donkey messages out to their school through PSE lessons.

They even visited their local primary schools and ran activities and conversations there to help younger children understand these important messages early.