Select Committee on Education and Skills Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the Anti-Bullying Alliance


  1.1  The Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA) was established in 2002. It is a unique collaboration of over 65 organisations that come together to articulate a common voice in support of strong national and local anti-bullying policy and practice and to promote the safe and positive environments for all children and young people. Through its Regional Programme and network of Co-ordinators the Alliance engages with the public, the voluntary sector and a range of other organisations in Local Authorities throughout England.

  1.2  The Anti-Bullying Alliance has three main functions:

    —  to raise the profile of bullying and the effect it has on children and young people's emotional health and well-being, life chances and achievement;

    —  to create a climate in which everyone agrees that bullying is unacceptable and is committed to tackling it in order to improve outcomes for children and young people; and

    —  to ensure that teachers and other adults working with children and young people, and young people themselves, are equipped with the skills and knowledge to address bullying effectively.

  1.3  This evidence has been compiled by drawing on the expertise of the Alliance members (Appendix 1). It provides an overview and should be read in conjunction with evidence submitted by members with specialist expertise in different areas. It also draws on the expertise of nine Regional Co-ordinators, who cover each government region. The Anti-Bullying Alliance regional programme is funded by the DfES and works within government policy on bullying.

  1.4  The Anti-Bullying Alliance welcomes this inquiry and urges the committee to both congratulate the Government on the commitment to anti-bullying shown so far, and to reinforce the need for anti-bullying policy to be developed further and implemented in the context of Every Child Matters and Youth Matters. We particularly urge the Government to recognise that many children and young people who bully others are being hurt and abused themselves.


  2.1  Bullying damages children's and young people's physical and mental health, their ability to learn and to build and sustain relationships. It can also destroy self-esteem, with the effects sometimes lasting into adult life. In extreme cases it can lead to self-harm and suicide.

  2.2  The Anti-Bullying Alliance believes that bullying is a serious issue, and that we should work to reduce and prevent it as part of our efforts to create safe, positive and stimulating environments for children. All local authorities and schools should audit how they are addressing bullying on a regular basis. Staff need to be confident and competent in addressing bullying incidents.

  2.3  The Anti-Bullying Alliance believes that all children should grow up without the fear of being bullied. The view that bullying is a normal part of growing up, necessary to toughen up children and young people in preparation for the realities adult life should be challenged at every level.

  2.4  Research has demonstrated that bystanders play a significant role in bullying. Proactive and preventative interventions implemented at individual, class, school, and community level have the potential to reduce bullying, alongside reactive strategies to deal with bullying incidents when they occur. Teachers and staff need to be competent, confident and consistent in dealing with actual bullying incidents. The challenge is to develop innovative strategies that create a safe and positive and healthy environment for learning and provide children, young people and adults with safe ways to take action that reduces the incidence of bullying and its harmful effects.

  2.5  Effective anti-bullying strategies must be multi-faceted, with interventions designed to:

    —  prevent bullying;

    —  react effectively when it occurs; and

    —  provide longer term support to promote the self-esteem of those who have been bullied to reduce the likelihood of long-term damage and also to reduce the underlying vulnerability of children and young people who bully others.

  2.6  There is no quick fix, "one size fits all" approach to bullying. There are a number of approaches to dealing with incidents of bullying and those working with children and young people need to select the most appropriate for circumstances of individual cases. More research is needed however, to help us assess what works best in preventing and changing bullying behaviour, supporting those being bullied and working across the wider community.

  2.7  The Anti-Bullying Alliance believes that adults need to listen to children and young people and ensure they are given the opportunity to speak out and have their voices heard on their experiences of bullying and are actively encouraged to participate in identifying both the problems and solutions to bullying.

  2.8  The Anti-Bullying Alliance seeks a co-ordinated response to bullying. It is believes that local authorities and Children's Trusts have a key role to play in challenging bullying, and has a leading role to play in the development of local strategic partnerships and in the provision of anti-bullying support services. Local partnerships need to involve a range of statutory services, voluntary and community agencies and schools. Most importantly they need to consult and involve those most affected by bullying: children and young people.

  2.9  The Anti-Bullying Alliance believes that children and young people need education and modelling from adults to help them learn pro-social behaviours, develop empathy for others and the skills and confidence to live in a diverse, wide changing society. The skills and abilities to live and work collaboratively in schools cannot be left to chance they can and must be taught. More emphasis should be placed on developing positive relationships skills and teaching children about mutual respect and co-operation in primary and secondary schools. We recommend that this inquiry concludes by supporting the calls of a significant number of organisations for Personal, Social and Health Education to be a statutory foundation subject at Key Stages 1-4 (from ages 4-18 years).



  3.1  The Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA) defines bullying as the intentional hurting of one person by another, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power. It is usually repetitive or persistent, although some one-off attacks can have a continuing harmful effect on the victim. This definition is consistent with accounts from children and young people, and with research.

  3.2  Bullying takes many forms, face-to-face, or through third parties. The hurt can be either or both physical, and emotional.

  Some bullying is physical:

    —  kicking, hitting, pushing; and

    —  taking and damaging belongings.

  Some bullying is verbal:

    —  name-calling;

    —  taunting, mocking;

    —  making offensive comments; and

    —  making threats.

  Some bullying is relational:

    —  excluding people from groups, deliberately ignoring; and

    —  gossiping, spreading rumours.

  Some bullying uses modern technology such as mobile phones, or the Internet. This "cyberbullying" includes:

    —  text-message bullying;

    —  phone-call bullying;

    —  picture/video-clip bullying (via mobile phone cameras);

    —  mail bullying;

    —  chat-room bullying;

    —  bullying through instant messaging; and

    —  bullying via websites.

Risk and protective factors in bullying

  3.3  A child or young person can be bullied for no particular reason. Sometimes personal characteristics (such as height, weight, or hair colour) are targeted. Children who are timid and unassertive are more vulnerable to being bullied, so assertiveness training can help some children. Having friends, especially friends you can trust, is an important protective factor against being bullied in the peer group. Some bullying is done because a child or young person belongs to a certain group.

  3.4  This has been labelled "prejudice driven bullying", and includes homophobic bullying, racist bullying, sexual or gender bullying, and bullying of pupils with learning or other disabilities. It is possible for many children to get involved in bullying, too, and it is important not to "pathologise" most cases of bullying. All bullying is unacceptable, and many children who are aggressive and lack empathy for others can be helped to understand the consequences of their actions and change their behaviour. The home background can be an important factor to take into account in addressing bullying behaviours, together with peer-group influence, which is especially significant in secondary school.

Roles in bullying

  3.5  There are many roles in bullying: there may be a gang of bullies, with a ringleader and followers. Some pupils watch and reinforce the bullying actively, or stand by passively doing nothing to stop it. Other pupils may help the victim. These roles are not exclusive: at different times or in different contexts, children and young people can both bully and be bullied (Wolke and others 2000).

  3.6  There is increasing focus on the social context in which bullying takes place and the group and peer pressures that are at play. The role of the "bystander"— a "person who does not become actively involved in a situation where someone else requires help" (Clarkson 1996) is being highlighted in Anti-Bullying Week this year (see section 9). Bystanding is not passive: witnesses to bullying play very different roles, some more active than others, and these contribute significantly to what takes place.

  Research (Salmivalli 1999) has indicated that as well as those who are bullied and those who bully, there are usually other witnesses who, through adopting particular roles, influence and affect what happens. The following "participant roles" were identified:

    —  assistants who join in and assist the bully;

    —  reinforcers who do not actively attack the victim but give positive feedback to the bully, providing an audience by laughing and making other encouraging gestures;

    —  outsiders who stay away, not taking sides with anyone or becoming involved, but allowing the bullying to continue by their "silent approval"; and

    —  defenders who show anti-bullying behaviour, comforting the victim, taking sides with them and trying to stop the bullying.

  A full summary of this research is included in supplementary materials sent as part of this submission.


  4.1  Most of our information on the extent of bullying comes from children and young people saying that they have been bullied, or have taken part in bullying others—this is called "self-report" data. This is a good source, as bullying is first and foremost a subjective experience. It is also important to take account of other perspectives, for example of witnesses or bystanders (pupils, teachers, parents).

  4.2  Surveys provide information on the frequency of bullying, but the figures will be influenced by: the age of the children; their understanding of what bullying is; and how the questions have been asked, for example, what time period is being referred to and how serious or frequent the bullying has to be. Pupils may report being bullied, even if this was mildly only once or twice, if this information is not specified. Research for the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) published in 2003 (Oliver and Candappa) showed that half of all primary and more than a quarter of all secondary pupils said that they had been bullied in the last year. The same study showed that 51% of primary and 54% of secondary pupils felt that bullying was a "big problem" or "quite a big problem" in their school.

  4.3  Other surveys usually produce figures that show bullying falls within the range of 10-20%. Over the last few years, data gathered from some 16,000 pupils in Leicestershire schools (Pupil Attitude Survey 2005-06) shows that the proportion who say they have been bullied in school this year more than once or twice was 16.3% in 2002-03, 14.9% in 2003-04, 14.4% in 2004-05, and 13.9% in 2005-06. Levels of severe bullying appear to be declining from around 13% in 1996 to 8% in 2006 (Katz, 2006). These slow but steady declines do suggest that anti-bullying work is having an effect, but also that much remains to be done.

  4.4  Even if many forms of bullying are slowly decreasing, cyber bullying, as one particular form of bullying, is probably on the increase as new technologies spread more widely, including downwards to younger children. A study of more than 11,000 pupils from 2002 to 2005 asked them how often they had received any nasty or threatening text messages or emails. The percentage answering "once in a while" or more often was 5.8% in 2002, 5.9% in 2003, 7.4% in 2004 and 7% in 2005 (Noret and Rivers 2006). An NCH survey in 2005 (NCH 2005) found that 20% of young people are bullied or threatened through text messages or online: 14% received bullying or threatening text messages, 5% were harassed in internet chat rooms, and 4% were harassed by email. A detailed report on 92 pupils (Smith and colleagues 2005) found that 7% had experienced some kind of cyberbullying in the last couple of months, with phone-call, text-message and email bullying the most common forms. Prevalence rates of cyberbullying were greater outside of school than inside. Other studies show that children report being bullied out of school, for example "on the bus", "on the train", "on my way to school", "on the way home", "out on the street", "in the shop" and "down my local park" (Frew 2002).

Children in public care

  4.5  Children in residential care are particularly vulnerable to bullying. The Social Exclusion Unit found 60% of looked after children report being bullied in school compared to 17% of all children (Social Exclusion Unit 2003). A report by Barter and others (2004) found that half of the young people interviewed in children's homes had experienced direct physical assault as victims, perpetrators or witnesses, and nearly all experienced verbal abuse.

  4.6  Young people in secure settings also report being bullied. A survey by the Youth Justice Board (Challen and Walton 2004) found that 10% of boys and 13% of girls were bullied during their first few days in custody. In Scotland, a questionnaire given to all young offenders in Young Offenders Institutions found that 26% said they had been bullied at their present institution during their present sentence; and 33% said they had been bullied by staff at some point during their stay in the institution (Dyson 2005).

Homophobic bullying

  4.7  A survey of homophobia in schools for the DfES (Warwick, Chase and Aggleton 2004) reported that around 82% of secondary school teachers are aware of verbal homophobic bullying and 26% of physical homophobic bullying. Pupil reports suggest that between 30-50% of young people in secondary schools attracted to people of the same sex will have directly experienced homophobic bullying (compared to the 10-20% cent of young people who experience general bullying). A survey in 1997 found that only 6% of schools had anti-bullying policies that address homophobic bullying; in 2004 this had increased, but only to 13% (YWCA 2004).

Gender or sex bullying

  4.8  Girls and boys can experience name-calling, inappropriate touching, and other forms of harassment based on gender (Duncan 1999). Young Voice (Katz, Buchanan and Bream 2001) reported that 19% of young people had been insulted because of their gender. Girls and boys who are not perceived to live up to gender stereotypes and expectations can often find themselves bullied and, whether they are gay or not, this bullying if often homophobic.

Bullying and racism

  4.9  Research in mainly white schools in 2001-02 found that 25% of pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds had experienced racist name-calling within the last week. A third reported hurtful name calling and verbal abuse either at school or during the school journey and, for more than 16% this was persistent (DfES 2002).

  4.10  Research with Traveller pupils found that more than half of Year 6 pupils interviewed had been called racist names; 29 of the 38 pupils interviewed who transferred to secondary school said that they had encountered some kind of racial abuse, particularly in their first year of secondary school (Derrington and Kendall 2004).

Bullying and learning difficulties

  4.11  Children and young people with learning or communication difficulties are especially vulnerable to bullying. They may not have the ability to be assertive because they lack confidence or are more sensitive. According to a report by Mencap (2000), nearly 90% of people with a learning disability experience bullying, with over 66% of them experiencing it on a regular basis. Nearly three quarters (73%) are bullied in a public place, including a quarter of them on buses.


  5.1  Bullying is one of children and young people's main concerns. In 2004-05, ChildLine counselled 32,688 children about bullying—almost one in four of children counselled. Bullying accounted for 25% of the calls to ChildLine and was the most common reason why children call the helpline. The Children's Commissioner has said that bullying is the biggest concern that children and young people contact him about.

  5.2  Bullying can destroy children and young people's enjoyment of school, family and social life, as well as their capacity to learn. One study found that primary school children who were bullied were more likely to report disturbed sleep, bed-wetting, feeling sad, headaches and stomach aches. The risk of these symptoms increased with the frequency of the bullying (Williams and others 1996). Children and young people who are bullied often truant from school. They can be more anxious and insecure than those who are not bullied, and suffer from low self-esteem and see themselves as failures. Bullying can lead to depression or, in the most serious cases, self-harm or attempted suicide (DfES 2006).

  5.3  Bullying is intrinsically linked to emotional and mental health. Those who have poor emotional and mental health are more likely to be bullied and more likely to bully others themselves. It is therefore important that bullying behaviour is recognised in the context of emotional and mental health, to ensure effective education, support and interventions. Well-planned PSHE within the context of Healthy schools can promote social and emotional development.


Legislative and policy context

  6.1  The agenda set by Every Child Matters (2004) and the Children Act (2004) has firmly established that schools and other organisations providing services for children have a responsibility to provide the necessary resources needed to ensure that the young people in their care can be safe, healthy, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic well-being. National performance indicators for children's services are being developed and Joint Area Reviews will evaluate how well children's services are meeting these outcomes.

  6.2  In England, the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 states that "Head teachers in state schools have a duty to encourage good behaviour and respect for others on the part of pupils and, in particular, prevent all forms of bullying among pupils" (Section 61(4)). Since September 1999, head teachers of maintained schools in England and Wales have been under a duty to draw up measures to prevent all forms of bullying among pupils (Schools Standards Framework Act 1998). The Education Act 2002 (Section 175) gives all schools, including independent schools, the duty to "safeguard and promote the welfare of pupils". The guidance issued by DfES to show how this duty applies refers specifically to bullying as an issue that needs to be considered as part of keeping children safe (DfES 2004).

  6.3  A number of DfES initiatives, policy guidance and strategies also relate to bullying (Bullying: Effective action in Secondary Schools 2003; Don't Suffer in Silence 2000—currently under revision; National Healthy Schools, National Primary and Secondary strategies on Behaviour Improvement and Behaviour Attendance) and encourage local authorities to deliver an effective, coordinated response to bullying across schools and other organisations in their area. Ofsted also offer good practice guidance (Bullying: Effective Action in Secondary Schools 2003) and in their inspections look to assess the measures in place to respond to bullying and other forms of discriminatory behaviour.

  6.4  There are many legislative and non-statutory guidance drivers that relate to bullying, and these include:

    —  Human Rights Act;

    —  Race Relations (Amendment) Act;

    —  Disability Discrimination Act; and

    —  UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Local Authorities and Schools

  6.5  Local authorities have a key role to play in challenging bullying, and a leading role to play in the development of local strategic partnerships and anti-bullying strategy and support services. Local strategy development needs to involve a range of services including:

    —  LA Services (eg Education Welfare/Education Psychology) and Education Initiatives eg Behaviour and Attendance/Healthy Schools.

    —  Schools.

    —  Youth Organisations.

    —  Statutory Agencies eg Police; CAMHS.

    —  Voluntary Agencies eg NSPCC/ChildLine; Victim Support; Barnardo's.

  A shared strategy will offer greater coherence and cohesion in challenging bullying

and prepare for Joint Area Reviews now being undertaken by Ofsted. The incidence of bullying and how it is addressed at policy and practice level across the community will be inspected by Ofsted.

  6.6  Schools in particular have become a key site for tackling issues associated with bullying and implementing effective preventative strategies. Schools are legally required to have an anti-bullying policy and to safeguard children and young people. The Anti-Bullying Alliance believes that effective anti-bullying strategies help pupils realise their academic potential and help schools reduce the frequency and impact of bullying incidents and assist them in managing incidents more effectively.

  6.7  An effective anti-bullying strategy involves three elements:

    —  prevention;

    —  reacting and responding; and

    —  supporting and monitoring those who have been bullied and those doing the bullying.


  6.8  Strategies for preventing bullying need to be implemented using a whole-school approach. Schools need to create a culture where bullying is understood by all staff (teaching and non-teaching) and pupils to be unacceptable, and anti-bullying work is supported in PSHE and across the whole curriculum. Schools also need to ensure they have effective pastoral systems including peer support and school councils.

Reacting and responding

  6.9  Responding effectively to bullying using reward and sanctions as outlined in the behaviour policy. The key tasks in responding effectively are:

    —  making sure the person being bullied is safe and feels safe;

    —  establishing what happened by listening to different perspectives, including those of the person bullied, the person doing the bullying and those that have witnessed the bullying (also called "bystanders");

    —  making sure the person who is doing the bullying knows it is wrong to bully, takes responsibility for their behaviour and makes amends. Doing this in an emotionally intelligent way will require focusing on the unacceptable behaviours being displayed, and not reinforcing a sense of the individual being bad; and

    —  publicly signalling, where necessary and appropriate, to the whole school that the bullying is taken seriously and has been responded to well. This will often including talking to and with parents and carers.

Supporting and monitoring

  6.10  This will include:

    —  identifying immediate and longer-term support needs of both the person being bullied and the person who has done the bullying. This may include friendship based group work, accessing support from external agencies including voluntary agencies and Child Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS);

    —  recording the bullying incident, including what happened and who was involved, including the bystanders;

    —  reflecting on the process to identify any lessons for the future and disseminating any learning to colleagues; and

    —  monitoring and following up with all parties concerned, including parents and carers to ensure that the bullying has stopped, and if it hasn't, taking appropriate steps.

  6.11  The most effective strategies and interventions are sustained over the long term, and developed with staff, pupils, parents, carers and partners in the community. They are monitored and evaluated as circumstances change, and supported by a school ethos that inhibits bullying and promotes empathy and respect for diversity (Oliver and Candappa 2003).

  6.12  The Anti-Bullying Alliance is in the process of producing an Anti-Bullying Audit Toolkit that will help local authorities and schools to provide the evidence they need to evaluate their polices, strategies and practices.


  7.1  The new inspection arrangements require that schools and all services for children consult children and young people to provide evidence for Self-Evaluation Forms and Joint Area Reviews. Young people can also participate actively in important decisions that concern their peer group, for example through engaging in school councils, youth parliaments or other democratic systems. Children and young people need to negotiate and own a strategy rather than have one simply imposed upon them. There are a range of activities and areas that children and young people can be involved in that relate to bullying:

    —  identifying where the bullying happens, who is doing it to whom, and what needs to be done;

    —  decisions about how to tackle bullying;

    —  identifying priority issues that need to be addressed, which will often include bullying;

    —  the development and delivery of the taught curriculum that can focus on aspects of bullying and discrimination;

    —  identifying new forms of bullying, such as text and email bullying;

    —  learning how to play an active participant role in challenging bullying; and

    —  peer support including mediation, listening, advocacy and mentoring for those experiencing or at risk of bullying or being bullied (Cowie and others 2002). Peer support systems have changed as the children and young people involved have become more creative and confident in developing the systems in which they have been trained to play a part, for example, by making changes in the logistics of peer support, and developing use of the internet and email support (Cartwright 2005; Cowie and Hutson 2005);

    —  reviewing, auditing and developing anti-bullying policy and practice and giving feedback to Ofsted; and

    —  volunteering and supporting others in the wider community to promote inclusion and reduce bullying, for example, those with learning disabilities.

  7.2  You can involve children and young people in a number of ways to discuss their issues, concerns or experiences of bullying, such as through:

    —  Focus groups and face-to-face discussions with small groups of children and young people, particularly school councils.

    —  PSHE or citizenship curriculum where the class could address bullying as a class project.

    —  Interactive websites.

    —  Written questionnaires and feedback forms provide ideal opportunities to find out about children and young people`s understanding and perceptions about bullying.

    —  Art, posters, drama and interactive exercises.

    —  Symbol mats for disabled young people.

    —  Puppets or dolls for very young children.

    —  Videos and audio tapes.

    —  Brainstorming sessions to explore issues of bullying.

    —  Children and young people representation on advisory boards.

    —  Graffiti boards.

    —  External reference/advisory groups provide children and young people with opportunities to influence policy and practice at local and regional levels.

  Guidance produced by the South East Anti-Bullying Alliance—Are You Talking to Me? Young People's Participation in anti-bullying—is included in the supplementary materials sent with this submission. It provides a number of case studies highlighting effective and creative participation models.

  7.3  The Anti-Bullying Alliance carried out a project on behalf of the Office of the Children's Commissioner (OCC) to capture the stories of young people and give a sense of the impact bullying can have on children and young people in our schools and communities. The children and young people involved offered the following ten top tips on how to deal with bullying:

    1.  Pick it up early and act before it spreads and becomes entrenched.

    2.  Train teachers and inspectors to ensure they do not collude with bullying.

    3.  Teach about diversity and equality.

    4.  Do not rely solely on the target to identify who is bullying them before intervening. Consider support groups, buddies or peer supporters or a bully box.

    5.  Use the experience of young people in peer support programmes.

    6.  Teach techniques for calming down and develop resilience.

    7.  There are risks for children in telling someone. Adults should handle this information with care.

    8.  Work with children and young people to change bullying behaviour.

    9.  Being part of a group outside school can help build confidence and friendships.

    10.  Involve children, young people and their parents in finding solutions and resolving bullying.

  7.4  The Children's Commissioner also recommended that effective Anti-Bullying Strategies are put in place which will:

    —  Demonstrate a visible commitment to addressing bullying and adopting a whole school approach with strong leadership and a range of preventative measures, including building emotional resilience, empathy and self-esteem, as well as having clear procedures for identifying and managing bullying; this equally applies to settings other than schools such as youth clubs, early years and residential settings.

    —  Be based on clear, up-to-date knowledge of the local issues within the school and community, for example when, where and how bullying happens, and whether any peer groups are particularly responsible. This should include an annual survey of children and young people.

    —  Recognise the distinction between bullying and other types of conflict and aggressive behaviour.

    —  Ensure the active involvement of children and young people, their families and community partners and promote a culture of respect and valuing diversity.

    —  Identify vulnerable children and young people, and those critical moments and transitions when they may become vulnerable and provide additional support when needed.

    —  Support the ongoing development of empathy, emotional resilience and a sense of responsibility for behaviour from early years to adulthood and beyond.

    —  Apply clear and consistent rewards and sanctions policies that are understood by all members of the school community and are suitable for the age, maturity and understanding of the child or young person.

    —  Ensure all members of staff are trained and supported and model positive relationships with each other an d pupils.

(Journeys—Children and Young People talking about Bullying, OCC).



  8.1  Bullying takes place anywhere and everywhere: in schools, in the home and within communities. It is a subjective experience which does not always fit into a neat category or tight definition. The variety and nature of bullying is also changing and evolving as technology develops. It is critical that all those working with children and young people have a shared understanding of what bullying is and how it differs from other types of conflicts and aggressive behaviour.

  8.2  The view that bullying is a normal part of growing up, necessary to toughen up children and young people in preparation for the realities adult life is still held by many (public and professionals alike). This has a detrimental effect on those being bullied and those working to trying to implement strategies to deal with it and prevent it.

  8.3  There is still a culture of fear around dealing with bullying both at individual and institutional level, which can paralyse progress. Adult and children "bystanders" are often concerned for their own safety and self-preservation or don't always have the knowledge or skills to intervene effectively. Schools and other organisations can be in denial about the true extent of bullying taking place, and can be reluctant to actively consult with children and their parents incase by implication they are seen to be "admitting" to having a bullying problem.

  8.4  There is no quick fix, "one size fits all" approach to bullying. There are a number of approaches to dealing with incidents of bullying (summarized in Making Schools Safer; Using Effective Anti-bullying Strategies, ABA) and those working with children and young people need to select the most appropriate for circumstances of individual cases. This requires dedicated time, confidence and a shared commitment across schools and communities that acts of bullying will not be tolerated and appropriate action will be taken. More research, however is still needed on what works best in preventing and changing bullying behaviour and supporting those being bullied.

  8.5  Bullying cannot be dealt with in isolation, but needs to dealt with in the wider context of developing and creating a culture based on care and respect for others. In schools, this means developing a culture that provides a safe, supportive and empowering learning environment. A well-coordinated PSHE curriculum and pastoral care support is crucial in achieving this.

  8.6  There is real danger that schools and others see having an anti-bullying policy as the end of the process rather than the beginning. An anti-bullying policy is meaningless without regular monitoring, review and evaluation. Evidence of impact needs to regularly sought.

  8.7  Although considered good practice, there is currently no legal duty on schools to collect and provide data on bullying to local authorities. There is therefore a lack of clarity about what LAs can reasonably expect schools to provide so that they can both identify schools who need further support to address bullying and provide the relevant information for the Joint Area Reviews.


  8.8  While it is acknowledged that bullying is a complex issue, there is an ever-growing body of good practice in local authorities and schools, where positive measures are being taken to prevent and tackle bullying. The approaches adopted—including peer-led schemes, pupils' participation in decision making, positive management strategies, the provision of advice and support for both those being bullied and bullying—can have huge impact on the levels of bullying and the ability of children and young people to deal with it. More opportunities should to be taken to identify, celebrate and publicise effective practice and send out positive messages to schools, children and young people, parents and the media that something can be done about it. A number of case studies from around the Regions have been included in the supplementary material sent with this submission. They illustrate how some schools and local authorities have approached and developed anti-bullying initiatives and strategies.

  8.9  There are an increasing number of "tools" available to those working with children and young people to help and support those charged with the responsibility for anti-bullying strategies (a list of publications and toolkits produced by the Anti-Bullying Alliance is attached in Appendix 2).[41] These should be widely publicised and disseminated.

  8.10  The agenda set by Every Child Matters gives an impetus for identifying strategic responsibility for bullying. Local authorities and Children's Trusts have a key role in developing local strategic partnerships and achieving a co-ordinated response to bullying which will be inspected by Ofsted as part of the Joint Area Reviews. Schools also have a number of key DfES strategies which offer support on bullying, including the National Healthy Schools Programme, the Behaviour and Attendance Strategy and Behaviour Improvement Programmes. Although schools have this excellent support, they may not choose to focus on bullying and may identify other priorities regarding attendance and behaviour. A supportive policy context, including looking at ways of encouraging schools to prioritise bullying, should be exploited in creating anti-bullying polices and practice.

  8.11  There is a growing understanding. of the need to engage children and young people in identifying and implementing solutions to bullying. This means being mindful of children and young people's enormous (if given the right support) capacity to participate as well as providing supportive opportunities and structures for participation. This is crucial to the development of potentially acceptable and effective policies and interventions.

  8.12  Schools and other organisations working with children and young people have the opportunity to develop external links (with counselling service, school nurse service and voluntary organisations) to ensure children and young people have a range of support structures and people they can turn to. The needs of parents should also be considered, so they understand the nature of bullying and feel more confident about how they can best support their children.

  8.13  There should be a concerted effort to continually raise the profile of bullying and anti-bullying work. This can be done through events like Anti-Bullying Week (see below) but should be a continual process, educating and informing, and using the media constructively to create a culture of zero-tolerance around bullying.


Anti-Bullying Week

  9.1  National Anti-Bullying Week is an annual event held in the third week of November to raise awareness of bullying and the harm it can cause and to promote effective anti-bullying strategies. The theme for 2006 is the role of the bystander, with the campaign slogan "Bullying: See It. Get Help. Stop it". This focuses on the importance of children and adults taking positive action to get help when they see bullying happening. Nationally the Anti-Bullying Alliance role is to provide background materials and stimulate regional and local activities within school and the community for Anti-Bullying Week. The last Friday of Anti-Bullying Week is nominated as Blue Friday—a non-uniform day—where children and young people are encouraged to wear blue to show their solidarity against bullying.

  9.2  A range of Anti-Bullying Week materials have been produced including posters, designed by children and young people, a series of postcards to help children and young people communicate their concerns about bullying and an anti-bullying lanyard to attach to bags, phones and pencil cases. A CD Rom containing the facts on bullying, up to date research, ideas for Anti-Bullying week events and all the materials was sent to schools in September (pack enclosed for information).[42]

  9.3  Trutex (the school uniform provider) is the official sponsor of Anti-Bullying Week. It is also supported by Department for Education and Skills and Hope Education.

  9.4  Children's TV channel Nickelodeon has become the official broadcaster for Anti-Bullying Week 2006, and are running a parallel campaign See something, Say something, launched on 8 September 2006. The campaign will climax on-air in November with a special series of programming, including 30 short films featuring children and famous faces.

  Further information about Anti-Bullying Week is available at

  An Anti-Bullying Week Campaign Pack is included in the supplementary materials sent with this submission.[43]

Other Projects and Publications

  9.5  The Research and Evaluation Team of Anti-Bullying Alliance, based at the Unit for School and Family Studies, Goldsmith College, University of London, compile regular lists of abstracts of research relevant to school bullying and victimisation, and bullying in childhood in general. These can be accessed at

  9.6  A list of current Anti-Bullying Alliance publications is provided in Appendix 2.[44] 44

REFERENCESBarter, C and others (2004). Peer Violence in Children's Residential Care. Basingstoke:

Palgrave Macmillan.

Cartwright, N (2005) Setting up and sustaining peer support systems in a range of schools over 20 years. Pastoral Care in Education, 23, 45-50.

Cowie, H and Hutson, N (2005) Peer Support: A strategy to help bystanders challenge school bullying. Pastoral Care in Education, 23, 40-44.

Cowie, H and others (2002) Knowledge, use of and attitudes towards peer support. Journal of Adolescence, 25, 5, 453-467.

Challen, M and Walton, T (2004) Juveniles in Custody: A unique insight into the perceptions of young people held in prison service custody in England and Wales. London: HM Inspectorate of Prisons.

Derrington, C and Kendall, S (2004) Gypsy Traveller Students in Secondary Schools: Culture, identity and achievement. Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books.

DfES (2000) Bullying—Don't Suffer in Silence. An anti-bullying pack for schools (2nd rev. ed). London DfES.

DfES (2002) Minority Ethnic Pupils in Mainly White Schools. Research Report 365.

DfES (2004) Safeguarding Children in Education. DfES:

DfES (2005a) Secondary National Strategy for School Improvement 2005-06. London DfES.

DfES (2005b) Excellence and Enjoyment: Social and emotional aspects of learning. London DfES.

DH (2002) Children's Homes. National Minimum Standards: Children's Home Regulations. London: The Stationery Office.

Duncan, N (1999) Sexual Bullying. London: Routledge.

Dyson, G (2005) Examining bullying among institutionalised young offenders: triangulation of questionnaires and focus groups. In Ireland, J (ed.) Bullying in Prisons (2002), pp 84-108. Cullompton: Willan Publishing.

Frew, R (2002) Anti-bullying Research for Camden Children's Fund. London: Camden and Islington Family Service Unit.

HMSO (1998) Schools Standards Framework Act.

Katz, A (2006) Various surveys 1996-2006. Young Voice.

Katz, A, Buchanan, A and Bream, V (2001) Bullying in Britain: Testimonies from teenagers. East Molesey: Young Voice.

Mencap (2000) Living in Fear: The need to combat bullying of people with learning difficulties. London: Mencap.

NCH (2005) Putting U in the picture. Mobile Bullying Survey 2005. NCH.

Noret, N and Rivers, I (2006) The prevalence of bullying by text message or email: Results of a four-year study. Poster presented at British Psychological Society Annual Conference, Cardiff, April.

Ofsted (2003) Bullying: Effective action in secondary schools. Ofsted. &id=3235

Ofsted (2005). Every Child Matters: Framework for the Inspection of Children's Services. Ofsted.

Oliver, C and Candappa, M (2003) Tackling Bullying: Listening to the views of children and young people. Research report RR400, DfES publications.

Pupil Attitude Survey 2005-06, Leicestershire, MIS, Statistics and Information Unit.

Smith, P and others (2006) An Investigation into Cyber Bullying, its Forms, Awareness and Impact, and the Relationship Between Age and Gender in Cyber Bullying. Report to the Anti-Bullying Alliance, January.

Social Exclusion Unit (2003) A Better Education for Children in Care. London: Social Exclusion Unit.

Warwick, I and others (2004). Homophobia, Sexual Orientation and Schools: A review and implications for action. Research report RR594, DfES publications.

Williams, K and others (1996) Association of common health symptoms with bullying in primary school children. British Medical Journal, 313, 17-19.

Wolke, D and others (2000) The association between direct and relational bullying and behaviour problems among primary school children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 41, 989-1002.

YWCA (2004) Pride not Prejudice: Young lesbian and bisexual women. YWCA Briefing. Oxford: YWCA.

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