Val McFarlane

Val Photo

Co-Director. Val was  North East Regional Adviser for the Anti-Bullying Alliance. She was an Education Welfare Officer in County Durham for some years. Through her Education Welfare work, she discovered that bullying greatly affected the educational achievement of some children and young people. 

Val joined the County Durham Educational Psychology Service in January 2000, working with a Senior Educational Psychologist in schools to try and reduce bullying.  In 2002, she successfully applied to the European Social Fund for extra funding for the service, which resulted in a grant of £500,000, and further staff being appointed.

While at Durham County Council, she was instrumental in introducing the first Anti-bullying Accreditation Scheme for schools in County Durham.  Val has now trained various staff in other Local Authorities in the country on running these schemes.  Spending cuts meant many of these schemes ceased to exist, and schools were seeking a national scheme, this led to setting up the BIG Award.

Through all of this work Val has dealt with hundreds of children and young people who have been either victims or perpetrators of bullying. Val has a qualification in counselling. She has written many resources and training materials for professionals working with children and young people in schools and in the community.  She has toured the country training other
professionals with her Girl Bullying training course and also runs training courses on Cyber Bullying, Anti-bullying Strategies and Whole Organisation Approaches to Tackling Bullying. She trains teachers and community professionals i.e. children’s home staff, youth workers and further education professionals.

A director of BIG, Val is now a freelance Education Consultant, specialising in bullying and friendship issues.


Vicki Lydon

Co-Director: Vicki launched the Smile Anti-Bullying Service in 2008 which has now become ViVa Training and Resources (Run jointly with Val McFarlane. This service supports local authorities and schools with their anti-bullying strategy and practice.

Vicki delivers training to teams, teachers and lunchtime staff in awareness raising and strategies as well as working with pupils through peer support, mediation training, individual and group support. Vicki has written her own training programmes and has delivered anti-bullying workshops around the country.

She has previously worked for County Durham Anti-Bullying Service for eight years gaining a wealth of training and experience. She helped to set up the first anti-bullying accreditation scheme in County Durham. She has a Childcare Diploma, and has worked with children and young people in various settings throughout her career.  Vicki is a director of the [BIG] which runs the national BIG Award for excellence in anti-bullying work.

Adrienne Katz

Co-Director: Adrienne brings to BIG Award 17 years experience of addressing and researching bullying.  As an author, trainer and  research project leader, her  work has  focused on effective and practical ways to support young people and help  schools. Adrienne has undertaken bullying intervention initiatives in 22 local authorities.

In addition to her role as a director within BIG Award she runs CPD accredited training programmes for schools, children’s services and external agencies. She specialises in:
Vulnerable groups,
Bullying as a public health issue,
Implementing a whole school anti-bullying programme and ways to respond to bullying incidents.

Adrienne has a focus on policy and how it can shape and support practice.

With a BA degree from Witwatersrand University Johannesburg Adrienne came to the UK and founded a charity, Young Voice, which she ran for ten years. The Young Voice team undertook  consultations and evaluations for a range of services by using youth participation,exploring young people’s views and experiences on bullying. She actively promotes youth participation and equality.

Adrienne served as the West Midlands Regional Adviser for the Anti-Bullying Alliance, covering 14 local authority areas.

Adrienne has written or edited several books, reports and guidance on bullying. These include Bullying in Britainin association with a team at the University of Oxford; work on the‘Journeys’ booklets for the Office of the Children’s Commissioner and Safe To Learn DCSF guidance on Bullying Involving Children and Young People with Special Needs with the Council for Disabled Children.
Adrienne helped develop the DCSF guidance suite on bullying in the community, ‘Safe From Bullying’ with charity 4Children and she wrote the resource for the DCSF film, ‘Make Them Go Away.’ Recent work includes the Play Pathfinder programme in Dudley MBC which developed a children’s manifesto for inclusion.

 Adrienne directs the Cybersurvey research programme, collecting the experiences of young people online. To date this ongoing programme has involved over 30,000 children and young people and it informs new work delivering training and resources on the issues these young people raise.


‘Cyberbullying and e-safety: what educators and other professionals need to know’ 2012.

‘Making Your Primary School E-Safe,’ 2015

 ‘Making Your Secondary School E-Safe, 2016

All published by

Sairah Qureshi

Dr. Sairah Qureshi earned her PhD in Sociology and Criminology from the UK in 2011, based on exploring and examining the perceptions of bullying and racist bullying and particularly how it is manifested around the school environment. Dr. Qureshi has had over 10 years of academic experience and over 7 years as a consultant and practitioner in the field of bullying and bias-based bullying. She has advised local authorities on school bullying, participated in and evaluated school training manuals on bullying as well as delivered extensive public outreach work to children and young people on the subject of school bullying and racism. More recently, the organisation she founded, Action Against Bullying affiliated and developed a partnership with Bullying Intervention Group.


Dr. Qureshi has acted as Residential Consultant Expert for the Downtown Manhattan Community Board 1, ‘Youth and Education Committee’ since May 2010 where her proposals have been presented to the NYC Department of Education. She is also a prominent member of the NYC Teen Healthy Relationship Network Roundtable committee. At these meetings Dr. Qureshi has consulted with other key organizations into developing an Anti-Bullying prevention program in order to combat teen dating violence/abusive relationships among teens. Dr. Qureshi further has been an Associate member of another large UK anti-bullying organization, ‘Anti-Bullying Alliance’ since 2008 where she has presented her work and hosted a key workshop for this organization.

Dr. Sairah Qureshi has lectured and published articles in her specialized field as well as published her very first book, ‘Bullying and Racist Bullying in Schools; What ARE we missing?’. Dr. Qureshi also teaches Sociology to undergraduates at Strayer University, NJ, USA.

John Khan

John Khan is Lead Practitioner at Anti-Bullying Works and freelance consultant based in Brighton. He works as a consultant for BIG Award. John’s main areas of work are:

· To provide strategic support to schools to ensure all forms of bullying behaviour are dealt with in line with OFSTED

· To deliver a range of anti-bullying training to professionals to enable them to support children effected by bullying behaviour more effectively.

· To offer a range of bespoke and interactive anti-bullying workshops for pupils on issues such as friendships, building emotional resilience and assertiveness, bullying and bystander behaviour and e-safety.

 John gained a national reputation for bringing together and managing East Sussex’s Anti-Bullying Team for over 10 years, where he:

· Brought together and managed one of the largest local authority led anti-bullying teams in the UK.

· Developed a range of innovative anti-bullying approaches to support children and young people affected by bullying behaviour.

· Spearheaded the development of a range of nationally recognised curriculum resources to address relational conflict amongst friends, as well as all forms of bullying behaviour and e-safety.

John was also the South East Regional Coordinator for the Anti-Bullying Alliance and as previously held senior research positions at Save the Children and the Council for Disabled Children. He holds a Masters degree in Human Rights from Sussex University and BA (Hons) in Social Studies from Nottingham University.


Dr Aiman El Asam

Dr El Asam is a forensic psychologist at Kingston University. We are very grateful to have his advice and input on our research programme and surveys.