More than half the students in the UK have experienced some form of bullying at school, according to new research, and many students have felt they had to make a decision about their future based on the experiences of others.
The findings of a survey conducted by the charity, the Centre for Education, Social Policy and Research (CEPSRP), found that 57% of students in primary schools and over 30% of secondary school pupils had experienced bullying at some point.
More than 1,000 students were interviewed about their experiences of bullying and bullying-related experiences.
The study also found that the majority of students had experienced “a great deal” of bullying in the past 12 months.
But a third of students, 28%, said they had not experienced any bullying in their lives.
The survey also found students who experienced bullying in primary school or secondary school were more likely to feel “lonely and isolated” and were less likely to get involved in sport or social life.
“Our research shows that the social stigma around bullying is increasing and that schools and communities have a significant role to play in reducing it,” said CEPSRP’s executive director, Sarah Hoey.
The charity’s survey found that “there is an epidemic of bullying”.
“The vast majority of young people in Britain are struggling with bullying and it is clear that there is a need for a national strategy to combat this,” she added.
“We need a strategy to reduce the impact of bullying on children and young people.”
In order to reduce bullying, CEPSRP is calling for the creation of a National Policing Strategy (NPS), with a focus on promoting positive, safe and respectful behaviour at school.
“It is clear from the results of our survey that young people’s experiences of school bullying are being ignored, and that bullying is now a major issue for the UK as a whole,” said Hoea.
“The Government needs to be clear about the extent to which schools are tackling this issue.
They need to ensure that schools are able to deliver safe and inclusive learning environments where bullying is not tolerated.”
In its report, CEESPRP also called for a new national policy on bullying and recommended that the Department of Education, which oversees education, ensure that bullying in schools is “not tolerated”.
The organisation also called on the Government to create a “one-stop shop” for the development of an online, comprehensive national strategy on bullying.
It also said that teachers needed to be able to report “bullying incidents to the police and report to schools about bullying incidents”.
“This should include a dedicated reporting and response mechanism,” said Anne-Marie Cope, CEASPRP’s chief executive.
“This is crucial for a young person who may have experienced bullying to know that they have the support and support of their teacher to be heard, and they can come forward to report it to the authorities,” she continued.CEPSRPSRP is campaigning to get the Government and the Department for Education to introduce a national policy.
“There are clear gaps in how schools are handling bullying and we want to fill them,” said Cope.
“In the meantime, we hope that a comprehensive national policy can be developed, to protect children and ensure they are safe and happy in the schools they attend.”