0131 651 6444 step@ed.ac.uk

Shifting: A tale of bullying behaviour and discrimination

Resource for use with learners

About this resource


‘Shifting’ is a graphic novel telling the story of two young Gypsy/Travellers’ experiences of discrimination. The story introduces Joe and Tillie and describes their experiences of bullying behaviour in several different schools.  The graphic novel will be distributed free to schools throughout Scotland with the aim of generating dialogue about discriminatory behaviour, recognising difference and taking positive action. A range of activities accompany the resource exploring the various themes arising in the story.  It has been written and illustrated by Metaphrog, a graphic novel duo.


The story has a unique twist— it is unfinished!



how to use the resource

Read the story initially as a class to allow you to manage the different responses from class members. It will be important to ensure that any class members who have previous experiences of bullying behaviours or those who are from Gypsy/Traveller communities do not feel uncomfortable.

The story stops abruptly at a critical point after the main characters have experienced a series of bullying behaviours.  Divide your class into small groups and support them to reflect on why the events in the story are unacceptable. Encourage each group to participate in changing this story.  Explain that by creating new narratives we are sending out a message that this kind of bullying behaviour should never be tolerated.

Introduce the graphic novel genre by asking what pupils already know and allowing them to research different formats.  You can download the template grids below to help pupils to think about the format or use one of the digital comic maker apps. Visit step-families for more drawing tips and templates.

Please encourage groups to enter the national competition to complete the story.  Send your pupils’ story endings to STEP step@ed.ac.uk by the 30th April 2021.  We will select five endings to be illustrated by Metaphrog.  These stories will be published and distributed to all schools in Scotland.




Questions to begin discussions with learners

  • What is bullying behaviour?
  • Can you imagine how the children in the story are feeling?
  • What impact does bullying behaviour have on children and young people?
  • Do you have a role to play in addressing bullying and racism in school?
  • What steps can be taken to prevent incidents like these happening?
  • Can you imagine what would cause young people to behave in a bullying way?
  • In what ways could this story be changed?  Which character(s) should play a part in the changes?  What should they do?

Resources for teachers

For a range of resources like the ones below, visit respectme

Please contact step@ed.ac.uk to request your free printed copies of Shifting.