Dealing with Social Exclusion and The Power of Friendship Groups
Elida Brereton,
The National Coalition Against Bullying (NCAB) with the Alannah and Madeline Foundation (AMF)

Deliberate social exclusion is a covert form of bullying and difficult for teachers to detect. Schools are an important space for young people’s social interaction. Among the most intense fears they face are social rejection and isolation.

Many young people rely on one or a few friends and if these relationships break down can find themselves deserted and alone.  The effects can be severe and painful and include lowered feelings of self-worth, which sometimes leads to more severe conditions of anxiety and depression.

One of the most important protective factors for young people is the peer group, the quality and closeness of which is associated with emotional wellbeing, increased levels of resilience and decreased risk of serious psychological and emotional problems.

Schools can assist students to develop supportive peer groups through the explicit teaching of social and emotional skills, of the underpinning skills of friendship and through a range of relationship-based pedagogies.

About Elida
Elida was a teacher and principal in the government school system for 43 years, finishing in January 2010 after 15 years as Principal of Camberwell High School. From June 2010 Elida has worked part time for the Department of Education’s Bastow Institute, mentoring and coaching new and intern principals. She is also sought by schools dealing with bullying and disengagement issues.
Elida was the National President of the Australian College of Educators in 2002-04, was awarded the national Australian College of Educators Medal in 2013, is a Brian Harris Fellow, and was head-hunted by the ABC in 2006 to be Miss Margaret Murray, Principal of Summer Heights High in the TV series.
Elida has worked with NCAB for many years, assisting with national conferences and key issues and has been chosen recently to be a visible advocate in a national campaign against bullying and violence by the Federal Department of Social Services. Elida is a delegate to the National Council of Women Victoria where her educational expertise is used.