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Thousands fewer pupils are being bullied, landmark study reveals

Ten thousand fewer pupils are being bullied every day than 10 years ago, a major new study of secondary school pupils has revealed.

Speaking before the start of Anti-Bullying Week, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan praised teachers, charities and parents for their efforts. She also urged them to continue their “moral mission” to further reduce bullying, recognising that many parents consider it their number one concern about what happens at school.

This landmark study, which involved 2 cohorts of tens of thousands of 13-year-olds from 2004 and 2013, is one of the largest of its kind ever undertaken.

It shows bullying among year 9 pupils has fallen dramatically since 2004. The findings show that when comparing 2013 to 2004:

  • 30,000 fewer pupils said they had been bullied in the last 12 months - a drop from 45% of pupils to 40%
  • 30,000 fewer pupils said they had been victims of violent bullying - down from 18% to 13%
  • 10,000 fewer pupils reported being bullied every day - down from 10% of pupils to 8%, a drop of a fifth

A recent Stonewall report published over the summer also showed that homophobic bullying has fallen, with the number of secondary school teachers who say their pupils are often or very often the victim of homophobic bullying has almost halved since 2009. To further tackle this, the government announced last month a £2 million fund for projects to address homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has yesterday (16 November 2014) issued a rallying cry for schools, charities and parents to capitalise on these successes and continue to help those at risk of being bullied. She said:

No child should have to suffer the fear and victimisation of bullying. Today’s figures show that our teachers, parents and charities have made great strides in reducing bullying, which I know is the number one concern of many parents.

But even one child bullied is one too many, so I am calling on all teachers, charities and parents to continue this moral mission and reduce bullying further.

There is no place for bullying in our schools and we are determined to support those on the front line to tackle it. To help this we have strengthened teachers’ powers to tackle bullying and are providing more than £4 million to anti-bullying organisations that are working with schools and children to further tackle the problem.

The government has a package of measures to help schools tackle bullying and encourage good behaviour. This includes:

  • placing a greater focus on behaviour and bullying in school inspections
  • providing more than £4 million to anti-bullying charities to help schools develop strategies to tackle bullying, including £1.5m for the National Children’s Bureau consortium to focus on children and young people with special educational needs who are bullied
  • announcing a £2 million fund for projects to address homophobic bullying in schools
  • strengthening teachers’ powers to tackle bullying - this includes the power to investigate allegations beyond the school gates, delete inappropriate images from phones and give out same-day detentions
  • ensuring that children are better educated about the dangers of the internet - from this term children are now learning about internet safety as part of the new national curriculum, and Safer Internet Day is widely promoted each year

Notes to editors

  1. These findings come from the second ‘Longitudinal study of young people in England’ (LSYPE2). It is following 13,100 13-year-olds from 2013 to 2019 and aims to learn about their experiences and life through secondary education and beyond.
  2. The 2004 findings come from the first ‘Longitudinal study of young people in England’ (LSYPE1), which followed 15,500 13-year-olds from 2004 to 2010. The Institute of Education is responsible for this study, which is also known as ‘Next Steps’. They will be holding an eighth wave of interviews in 2015.
  3. The numbers above are estimates of how many fewer young people in the cohort would be victims of the kinds of bullying described. They are based on the percentage point reduction in the rate of each type of bullying between LSYPE1 (2004) and LSYPE2 (2013) applied to the year 9 pupil population in 2013. See the comparison estimates of bullying of year 9 pupils in England.

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