‘School pupils suffering from bullying’ say Wales’ education watchdog

Balls-to-Bullying-logo (transparent)

Too many school pupils are still suffering from bullying, Wales’ education watchdog warns

Welsh schools inspectorate Estyn says there needs to be greater support for ‘at risk’ groups who are targeted because of their sexuality, ethnicity, religion or disability.

The rise in cyber bullying is a particular problem for schools because it is anonymous and pupils can be too embarrassed to report it.

Education inspectors have also drawn up an anti-bullying checklist for schools. The report found how different schools deal with bullying varies widely – and even between different staff at the same school.

The rise in cyber bullying was a concern for most secondary schools, with Estyn finding it difficult for staff and pupils and staff to deal with. It was often unreported because pupils feel too ashamed to talk about it. Often by the time teachers become aware of cyber bullying, it has been taking place for some time.

The research looked at 21 schools in detail.

The report includes a checklist of anti-bullying practices which it recommends schools should have in place.

These include:

  • All pupils should know what to do if they experience bullying
  • An agreed definition of bullying understood by everyone in the school
  • Strategies to tackle cyber bullying
  • Counselling should be available
  • Effective supervision between lessons, at breaks and lunchtime
  • Safe places for vulnerable groups at breaks and lunchtime
  • Display details of where help is available in school or on help lines
  • Opportunities for pupils to take responsibility e.g. buddy systems or peer support

Estyn chief inspector Ann Keane said: “Schools should be places where all pupils feel safe and able to learn. Bullying not only affects a child emotionally and psychologically, but can result in poor attendance and underachievement.”

While exact figures are not known, studies estimate between one-fifth and a half of all pupils suffered bullying at some point.

Download the report here