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Andrew Bernard

Andrew Bernard

“Domestic Violence - that’s not going to happen to anyone I know”

Domestic Abuse and Coercive Control: Sarah’s Legacy.

This Secondary PSHE and SRE workshop - delivered by Andrew ‘Bernie’ Bernard - will help young people to recognise domestic abuse and coercive control, appreciate the damaging nature of its portrayal in the media and ‘entertainment’, know what to do if they (or someone they know) experiences it, and finally challenge our young men to stop the cycle of violence in their generation whilst educating girls on the ‘red flags’ to look out for.

Some Statistics: 1 in 4 women and girls will experience some sort of domestic abuse from a partner; between 2 and 3 women a week are killed by their male partner or ex partner; 60% of all female homicides are caused by their partners. The statistics haven't changed for some years - in fact during the COVID-19 Lockdown in 2020 Domestic Abuse reports grew...this is one epidemic that isn't getting better.

Starting with the tragic and powerful story of his sister, Sarah Gosling –- murdered by her partner Ian Hope in 2012 –- Bernie explores how coercive control and domestic abuse can start and escalate within relationships. Session participants are then asked to consider their own experiences* and awareness of domestic violence and how they feel about it. Fundamentally, the workshop aims to raise awareness of the subject and challenge some of the myths and responsibilities involved in this area of relationships and what each and every person can do to put an end to domestic abuse.

In March and April 2021, in response to the police response to the disappearance of Sarah Everard and the publication of the UN Women UK findings that 97% of women 18-24 have experienced sexual harassment AND the sexual harassment and "rape culture" alleged in many independent schools we have adapted the workshop to greater focus on what young people can do to develop strategies and changes to the culture of sexism, misogyny and male violence, including understanding consent.

Andrew also has a popular workshop called ‘What Makes a Man?’. The aim is to consider modern manhood, think about unhelpful masculinity and develop empathy, character, and integrity. The workshop will highlight unhelpful masculinity – and ask where it comes from, how it can be challenged and how harmful unhelpful masculinity is to young men and women. The main thrust of What Makes A Man is to remind audience members that they have a choice over who they are becoming and how they assert themselves. As Cinzia DuBois - The Lady of The Library says: “…we need to write a new pro social script for men in order to prevent men like Tate from reviving ancient sexist ideas” and this workshop aims to do just that.

Watch Bernie in action here.

Testimonials from Teachers

“Bernie was superb, creative and engaging. Many students felt he would make an excellent teacher. I can’t wait to invite such a dynamic, organized and life-changing person back into school!”

– Faisal Ahmed, Head of Humanities, Stretford High School

"Bernie spoke at the student's level, very entertaining, yet a serious note, good up to date examples – made the future very relevant to them. This was a clear message about making plans for the future"

– Sarah Timms, Sixth Form Tutor, Kirkbie Kendal School

"'Best speaker we have had all year’, ‘He was funny and entertaining’, ‘He made me think about making plans for the future"

– Sixth Form Student, Kirkbie Kendal

“In a word, inspirational”

– Tal Depula, SLT, Woodbridge High School

"Just wanted to say many thanks for a great performance last night. Everybody really enjoyed it. I have been hearing from the team this morning just how many young people said they enjoyed your presentation. Thank you"

– Michelle Farrell-Bell, NW Director of Teens and Toddlers​

"Andrew was really great. We will definitely be booking him again."

– Elaine Eeles, Assistant Headteacher, Stretford Grammar School

"The sessions were extremely well received by staff and students-Andrew thank you so much for facilitating".

– Neil Wilson, Assistant Principal - Personal Development, Waterhead Academy

"We were delighted to host Andrew “Bernie” Bernard to consider the topical issue of “What Makes a Man?” with our Year 9 and 10 boys.

Bernie shared with the boys some less than desirable stories from his past and the choices he made when younger. He reflected on the stereotypes applied to boys as they grow up and messages that often surround young men from toddler T-Shirts to media figures and social media messaging. The boys discussed to what extent these promoted a version of masculinity that encouraged toughness, power and strength and to what extent this might be at the expense of empathy, consideration or emotion.

He encouraged them to think carefully about why they do what they do and to be more conscious about the decisions they make and the actions they take. He offered a series of alternative role models who were recommended for their honesty, advocacy of others, positivity and willingness to be different to stereotypes.

Bernie left the boys with three main points to reflect on:

• Boys don’t always have to be or follow the traditional expectations of males.

• Boys can also bring empathy for other people into everything they do.

• Young people can understand they have more power than they think they do, to be the best version of themselves.

Reflecting on these sessions many students understood the value of their own self-esteem and of education."

– Ms C Barlow, Headteacher, Heathfield Community College and Sixth Form

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