The third aim of the Make a Positive Contribution outcome is “to develop positive relationships and choose not to bully or discriminate”. This section examines the level of bullying experienced by children nationally and locally.
- Views of Bristol Children and Young People
- Key facts from Bristol surveys
- Incidents of bullying
- Feeling safe and free from worry
- Schools Response
- Types and reasons for bullying
- Children in Care
- Hate Crime
The effects of bullying
- Nationally, victims of bullying had worse educational outcomes (lower average GCSE score, more likely to be NEET, less likely to go into further education).
- Vulnerable pupils (SEN, young carers, disabled or in-care) and girls were more likely to be bullied nationally.
- Low self-esteem is strongly associated with experiences of bullying.
- Nationally, 65% of young lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils have experienced direct bullying and this rises to 75% in faith schools.
A Longitudinal study by DfE reported that young people who had been bullied at any time in years 9-11 had on average a Key Stage 4 score 13 points lower than those who hadn’t been bullied after all other factors that might be related to attainment were adjusted for. This is the equivalent of just over 2 GCSE grades.
Some types of bullying had much stronger relationships with attainment than others, the strongest being the reporting of having money or possessions taken. This was associated with a level of attainment equivalent to 6.5 grades lower at GCSE after adjustment for other factors, which is a difference between an A* and an F in one subject. Those young people who were excluded from social groups attained an equivalent of 4.5 grades lower after adjustment, or the difference between an A* and a D in one subject.
Young people who reported being bullies were also more likely to leave full time education at the age of 16, and were particularly likely to be NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training).
Views of Bristol Children and Young People
Children and young people were asked which issues they thought the council should consult them on and bullying ranked second (after keeping safe from crime and drugs) at 21% of respondents:
Bullying was described in a number of ways by children and young people and included: stealing, gossip and rumour spreading, racism, name calling, threats of violence, physical violence and cyber bullying on the internet. Children and young people made the following recommendations in terms of how bullying should be addressed in schools:
- Deliver appropriate sanctioning, including the use of suspensions and exclusion for serious or persistent bullying.
- Intervene early and be more vigilant in order that less severe bullying does not develop further.
- Encourage resolution between victims and bullies and explore the reason for their bullying behaviour.
- Use preventative measures to avoid the occurrence of bullying, such as: the use of seating plans, additional staff at break times, encourage a school culture of respect, deliver assemblies on bullying, identify a room or teacher for pupils to access for support.
Key facts from Bristol surveys
The TellUs survey reports that 30% of Bristol children have been bullied at in the last year. The ECM survey says that 26% of primary and 18% secondary children have been bullied in the last year; this is comparable to the national average for this survey.
- 44% of children in care said they had been bullied in school.
- Homophobic bullying is more than twice as likely in Bristol schools (10%) as in a reference sample (4%).
- Bristol ranked 149 out of 150 in National Indicator 69. This NI is based on pupils having responded positively to the question have you been bullied; in the last year, the last 4 weeks, once a week or most days, either in or out of school. Bristol better than the national average, except for ‘in the last year’, particularly out of school.
- The TellUs survey reports that 52% of Bristol children think that their school deals with bullying well or very well, the ECM survey says that 65% of secondary children think their school takes bullying seriously although this drops to 37% in EC area. 75% of primary children think their school takes bullying seriously.
- Bristol’s children are less likely to worry about bullying and as likely to experience bullying as most other children, although they experience less support from schools than elsewhere.
- Girls are more likely to worry about and experience bullying than boys, although report that they bully other people about half as much as boys.
- Black children worry about and experience less bullying than other groups in Bristol and black children nationally, and are happier with how schools deal with incidents. However, this is likely to be due to the way these children classify incidents. It may be that black children say they are not being bullied but that they have suffered racist incidents. These are reported and dealt with via the harassment policy.
- White ‘other’ groups, disabled children and those eligible for FSM seem to suffer bullying more than other groups and while FSM and disabled children had broadly positive feedback about school support, white ‘other’ children have less positive experiences.
- The most common reasons for being bullied were looks and size or weight. Young people where more likely to be bullied because of the way they look (51%) than young people from a reference sample (21%).
- Bullying using mobile phones and the internet was reported by 5% of children and young people. However this figure must be questioned as nationally some 48% of all young people have admitted to having undertaken some form of cyber bullying.
Incidents of bullying
- The TellUs survey reports that 30% of Bristol children have been bullied at in the last year, the ECM survey says that 26% of primary and 18% secondary children have been bullied.
- About half of all children asked have ever been bullied at school. Again, girls were more likely to have been bullied than boys, with the highest reporting group being white other, at 67%.
- Black children again reported the lowest incidents, with only 20% saying that they had been bullied.
- Broadly speaking, our figures were in line with our statistical neighbours, although lower than comparators for BME groups, excluding white other groups, who were significantly higher.
- Bristol’s children were about as likely to experience bullying as elsewhere in the country on a monthly, weekly or ‘most days’ basis, but more likely to suffer from bullying every day.
- Disabled children were about as likely to have had had someone bully them a few times in the year as any other group, but at a higher rate than elsewhere in the county.
- Girls were more likely to say that bullying happened every month, and every day, than boys and more likely than average nationally, but boys said they were more likely to be bullied than girls every week.
- FSM eligible children report a higher incident of daily bullying than average in Bristol and nationally.
- Outside of school, Bristol’s children are broadly as, or slightly less likely than children nationally to be bullied. The exception to this is incidents over the last year, when Bristol children responded at 47%, versus 30% nationally.
- Within Bristol, disabled and FSM eligible children were significantly more likely to be bullied out of school than other children (28% against a range of 16-23% for all other groups). Of those bullied outside of school, girls suffered from daily bullying nearly twice as much as comparators.
Feeling safe and free from worry
- Around a quarter of children asked often worry about being bullied, with girls more likely to worry about it than boys.
- Children with disabilities have the highest rate of concern about bullying, and black children the lowest.
- Generally, children in Bristol are less likely to worry about bullying than is average nationally and amongst our statistical neighbours, with black and ‘mixed’ children half as likely to worry about it.
- 81% of children in primaries often or always feel safe at playtimes, although play and lunch times were the most common sites for bullying in both primary and secondary schools. After play and lunch times, primary age children were most likely to be bullied at or near home and secondary age children during lessons.
- 32% children in primary schools and 21% in secondary schools said that they felt afraid of going to school at least sometimes because of bullying. Girls reported this more often than boys, and younger children said this more often than older children.
- Year 10s were more likely to say this in 2009 than 2008, and the same groups were less likely to say that their school took bullying seriously in 2009 than in 2008.
- Bristol children think that their schools deal with bullying less well than their national peers and statistical neighbours, although 52% did think that their schools dealt with it quite or very well (58% from comparators).
- The ECM survey says that 65% of secondary children think their school takes bullying seriously although this drops to 37% in EC area.
- Black, Asian and FSM eligible groups were most happy about the way schools responded, and white other groups least happy.
- Amongst white British and ‘mixed’ groups, responses were more spread-out, but there were lower percentages happy with schools than other groups, and for white British, high levels of dissatisfaction.
Types and reasons for bullying
- The most common types of bullying are; teased or made fun of, called nasty names, pushed or hit for no reason.
- The most common reasons for being bullied were looks (19%) and size or weight (15%). Other reasons were clothes (7%), race, colour or religion (6%), disability (3%) and sexuality (3%). A further 68% listed ‘other’, ‘none of the above’ or had no data available.
- Young people in Bristol were more likely to be bullied because of their sexuality than those in a reference sample (10% against 4%), and of those children, they were around twice as likely to be bullied because of the way they looked than the reference sample.
- Bullying using mobile phones and the internet was reported by 5% of children and young people.
There is insufficient data in Bristol on the prevalence of cyberbullying but national figures show:
- Pupils with Special Educational Needs are 16% more likely to be persistently cyber bullied over a prolonged period of time.
- Pupils receiving free school meals are 13% more likely to be persistently cyber bullied over a prolonged period of time.
- White non-British ethnic background all reported a higher incident of this intense form of cyberbullying.
- Girls experienced twice as much persistent cyberbullying as boys and some 48% of all young people admitted to having undertaken some sort of cyberbullying.
Children in Care
- 44% of children in care said they had been bullied in school.
- Of these children, 90% told an adult (generally teacher or foster carer) about the bullying and 85% said that the bullying then stopped.
- 13% (21 children) said they were treated differently at school because they are in care.
Schools have a statutory responsibility to report harassment data and the 2009 Hate Crime needs assessment collated the following incidents:
|Hate Crime Type||No. of incidents||% of total reports|
|Race hate crime||373||88%|
|Disablist hate crime||8||2%|
|Homophobic hate crime||39||9%|
Note 4% of race hate crime & 10% of homophobic crimes incidents are estimated to be duplicates (ie reported to both CYPS and police).
1. DCSF, TellUs4 Survey of Schools 2009.
2. Bristol PCT, Every Child Matters Survey 2008.
3. National Centre for Social Research for the DfE, Characteristics of bullying victims in schools 2010.
4. The School Report: The experiences of young gay people in Britain’s schools; Stonewall 2007.
5. Barnardo’s Participation Team ’Your Say’ Consultation with Children and Young People in Bristol to inform the Bristol Children & Young People’s Plan, Review and Refresh 2010.
6. Bristol Virtual School Survey, May 2010.
7. Beat Bullying, Virtual Violence: Protecting Children from Cyberbullying, 2009.
8. Hate Crime Needs Assessment, May 2009, Safer Bristol Crime & Drugs Partnership.
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