Select Committee on Education and Skills Third Report

3  What is bullying

7. We strongly believe that bullying should not be tolerated, either within school or in the wider community. Bullying can have a negative affect on both the bully and the victim. The idea that bullying is in some way character building and simply part of childhood is wrong and should be challenged. However, while there is no excuse for bullying we believe that bullying behaviour is influenced by attitudes and behaviour in society in general

8. Casual attitudes to violence seem to be becoming more common, for example with the growth of so-called 'happy-slapping' attacks. Poor parenting and lack of discipline at home can lead to a lack of respect for other people, a lack of respect for difference and anti-social behaviour, as well as bullying. We believe that parenting and the home environment are as important, if not more so, than school discipline in addressing these issues. The Minister for Schools told us that "it is often quite difficult for a parent to accept that their child might be bullying, but we need them to be able to deal with that if it arises."[6] If parents refuse to accept that their child's behaviour is unacceptable this creates serious problems for any attempt by the school to address that behaviour. All these problems need to be addressed if bullying is to be tackled successfully.

9. The Education and Inspections Act 2006 gave head teachers the power to take action on behaviour that occurs outside school premises and when a member of staff is not in charge of the student.[7] The Act also stated that disciplinary powers should only be extended as far as is reasonable. We are concerned that in the past some schools have refused to take action on bullying that has taken off school premises, for example bullying on the way to or from school and welcome the message in the Act that schools should consider extending the areas that their discipline covers.

Defining and Identifying bullying

10. Defining what bullying is and identifying instances of bullying is the first potential barrier to successfully tackling the problem. The DfES told us that

"The Government defines bullying as:

Bullying is emotionally or physically harmful behaviour and includes: name-calling; taunting; mocking; making offensive comments; kicking; hitting; pushing; taking belongings; inappropriate text messaging and emailing; sending offensive or degrading images by phone or via the internet; gossiping; excluding people from groups and spreading hurtful and untruthful rumours."[8]

11. The British Psychological Society argue that "there is no universal agreed definition of bullying or methods to assess it."[9] They go on to note that some definitions

"strongly emphasise direct bullying and aggressive actions. Research reports looking at interactions between gender and forms of bullying suggest that more sensitive definitions may be required for children to report on female forms of bullying or more indirect forms of bullying."[10]

12. Not everyone sees the same incidents in the same way. Michele Elliot, the Director of Kidscape, stated that "it is all bullying when it is deliberate. Teasing is very easy to describe. I can tease you and you can tease me and, if we are enjoying it, that is great. If it is causing pain, then that is bullying."[11] However, Save the Children note that, during the Independent Educational Advocacy Project they ran, children would report bullying if they had fallen out with a friend but not necessarily if they were actually being bullied.[12] While we do not wish to perpetuate the unhelpful idea that bullying is an inevitable part of school life, it is clear that behaviour which can, in certain circumstances, be seen as bullying, is not always regarded as such by any of the parties involved. Physical bullying is much easier to identify, both in terms of the perpetrator's actions and the effect they have on the victim, than verbal bullying or more subtle types of bullying such as excluding the victim from social groups or spreading gossip.

13. This is a problem not only for schools and teachers, who may not be able to recognise when intervention is necessary, but also for students, who Save the Children argue "are also likely to have an incomplete understanding of the different forms bullying can take, and tend to exclude aspects of relational bullying within their concept of bullying."[13] This can be true of both perpetrators, who may not realise or accept that their behaviour is bullying, and victims, who may not seek help because they do not realise that they are being bullied. Evidence we received suggests this may be more of a problem for children with Special Educational Needs. Both Mencap and the National Autistic Society stated that children with SEN might find it difficult to identify when they were being bullied. Mr Benet Middleton, Director of Communications and Public Affairs for the National Autistic Society, said

"Often a child with autism will not appreciate that he or she is being bullied. Such a child will not know the social rules. That can be quite extreme and can range from a child who is told by another boy that he will be hit every day so he believes that that is the rule to much more subtle types of bullying where the child may be led into quite inappropriate behaviour."[14]

14. Several witnesses told us of difficulties in identifying prejudice-based elements of bullying. Dr Shobha Das, Deputy Director of Support Against Racist Incidents (SARI) stated that "often schools do not struggle to identify an incident of bullying. […]. For us the problem is one of identifying incidents of racist bullying. […] they [schools] do not want to put the stamp of prejudice on it because somehow they feel it makes them look bad."[15] When asked about introducing a statutory duty on schools to report homophobic bullying similar to the one in existence for racist bullying, the Minister for Schools, Jim Knight MP, said "there are some real difficulties around definition and getting some consistency."[16]

15. The Ofsted report Bullying: Effective action in secondary schools noted that

"Staff in the schools visited showed rather less certainty in dealing with name-calling and other verbal abuse about sexuality than any other matters. Pupils also find this area difficult. They were aware that, under the guise of 'having a laugh,' some pupils make personal comments about others' sexuality, such as using the expression 'you're gay,' of boys, in a condemnatory, homophobic tone. […]While many pupils dismiss such statements as simply silly, others, particularly those trying to make sense of their own sexuality, can clearly feel very uncomfortable in a climate marked by crude stereotyping and hostility to difference."[17]

The Minister also noted that

"From the feedback that we have had from schools, it is a very difficult issue for them to be consistent about and in any behaviour policy consistency is crucial. Things like the use of the word 'gay' as a derogative term to describe people is in fairly common usage amongst young people in this country"[18]

16. Without a clear definition of bullying it is impossible for schools to have an effective, consistent anti-bullying policy. Written evidence from the Children's Legal Centre suggests a statutory definition may be necessary.[19] However, the Children's Commissioner argues that

"Agreeing ownership for a workable definition is one of the key elements on establishing and implementing an anti-bullying policy. […]. Children and young people's involvement is crucial, as is simplicity."[20]

The DfES states that

"The Department also encourages schools to consult with the entire school community in agreeing a definition of bullying appropriate to the individual school. This is an important part of developing an effective strategy to deal with bullying." [21]

17. Involving the whole school community in agreeing a definition of bullying can help to highlight behaviour that is unacceptable, ensuring there is a shared understanding between students, parents, teachers and other staff. We welcome the current DfES guidance to schools, that they should involve the entire school community in agreeing a definition of bullying. We recommend that additional guidance is given to schools on how to ensure difficult issues, such as the use of homophobic language and more subtle forms of bullying, are included in this process.

18. A report by the Office of the Children's Commissioner on the complaints procedure for bullying states that "it is inevitable that what is regarded as bullying in the eyes of one child or parent may not be so regarded by another."[22] We recognise that even when a definition of bullying has been produced in consultation with the whole school community, such disagreements are likely to occur. However, to minimise such disputes all schools should ensure that parents, pupils and staff are aware of the agreed definition. Teachers, other staff, pupils and parents should all be aware of how the definition affects their own behaviour and what is expected of them. Schools should review their policy and reported incidents regularly and use this as an opportunity to achieve consistency in reporting and responding to incidents of bullying and to develop teachers' skills in tackling them.

19. There are specific times and locations where children can be more vulnerable to bullying. These can include big events such as the transition between schools but also certain times within the routine school day such as lunchtime. We would recommend that schools target their attention on key times and locations where bullying is more prevalent.

Types of Bullying

20. During this inquiry we have taken evidence about specific types of bullying and their prevalence as well as bullying in general. Many of the witnesses mentioned two types of bullying in particular—cyber-bullying and prejudice-driven bullying. However, written and oral evidence we took also highlighted the following points:

  • Bullying is not confined to secondary education but is also a problem for primary schools.[23]
  • There is a tendency for girls to use verbal and relational tactics to bully and to be the victim of this type of bullying more often, and for boys to use and be the victims of more physical types of bullying. However, there seems to be an increase in girls using more aggressive and physical types of bullying with other girls.[24]
  • Evidence from the DfES suggests that boys tend to be bullied by other boys while girls are bullied by other girls and by boys.[25]


21. We were concerned about the use of new technology in bullying. Professor Peter Smith said that "Cyber-bullying is a new challenge and probably going up."[26] The DfES suggests that "schools and parents find cyber-bullying a particularly challenging area to address".[27] The Anti-Bullying Alliance told us that, based on a study of 11,000 pupils the proportion of those who had received a nasty or threatening text message or email rose from 5.8% in 2002 to 5.9% in 2003, 7.4 % in 2004 and 7% in 2005. As separate study in 2005 found that 7% of a group of 92 pupils had experienced some form of cyber-bullying in the preceding couple of months.[28]

22. There are clearly challenges when dealing with cyber-bullying. Bullying can take place away from school and out of school time. Despite the introduction of the 'right to discipline' in the Education and Inspection Act 2006 there is still a clear limit to what teachers and schools can or should do about bullying that occurs outside school. The charity Beatbullying told us that it "believes quite strongly that schools are not responsible for bullying that takes place off their premises. In our experience […] making schools responsible for all bullying across a community is self defeating."[29] The Minister for Schools said that

"Cyber-bullying is an area we have been very active on, and we have convened a group from industry to help us look at how the technology is being abused. I do not think it is going to be possible to shut down technology that is being abused. […]. We need to teach them [young people] how to use technology safely and responsibly. […]. Again, it is an area where we are looking to advise schools later on this year."[30]

23. The Committee recognises that there are unique problems when dealing with cyber-bullying. We welcome work being done to provide advice to schools. Given that it is more common for cyber-bullying to take place outside schools we urge the Department when it produces guidance to ensure that it includes guidance for parents and pupils as well as for schools.


24. During this inquiry we have been interested in the issue of prejudice-driven bullying. The DfES told us that:

"The distinctive feature of prejudice-driven bullying is that a person is attacked not only as an individual, as in most other offences, but also as the representative of a family, community or group. As such other members of the same group, family or community can be made to feel threatened and intimidated. […]. Moreover, this kind of bullying has wider social implications, extending beyond the school setting and schools, therefore, are in a significant position to limit the negative consequences this bullying can have on wider society."[31]

However, we recognise that bullying also occurs for other reasons and that an increasing awareness of prejudice-driven bullying should not detract from the ability of schools to deal with other types of bullying. Professor Smith said

"I think it is good that there has been an emphasis on prejudice-based bullying in the sense of bringing those particular groups into full awareness, because in the past there was insufficient awareness of, say, the difficulties experienced by gay people in school. It is absolutely right that that should be fully brought into awareness; similarly for people with disabilities and other kinds of prejudice-based bullying. We should not neglect the mainstream types of bullying which may simply arise because somebody behaves a bit differently, or because someone takes a dislike to somebody else, or because someone is a bit timid, a bit of a swot or whatever it is."[32]

25. Caroline Day, Researcher for Barnardo's, told us that Barnardo's had found, through their work, that young people tended to see identity-related bullying as worse than general bullying because identity related bullying focused on things that could not be changed. The three main things that young people mentioned in relation to identity-related bullying were sexuality, race and culture, and disability.[33] The view that prejudice-driven bullying is different from other forms of bullying was supported by much of the evidence that Committee received throughout the inquiry.

26. One group that may be more at risk of bullying are children and young people with special educational needs. Mencap state that most children with SEN will be bullied and the National Autistic Society told us that its own survey found 41% of parents whose children had autism reported that the children have been bullied,[34] with the figure rising to 59% for those whose children with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism.[35] One problem raised in the evidence we received is that children with SEN may not always understand when, either as a victim or a perpetrator, behaviour is bullying.

27. Some evidence identified homophobic bullying as different from other types of bullying. Both Stonewall and Education Action Challenging Homophobia suggest that the degree of isolation is greater for the victims of homophobic bullying because they may have to 'come out' in order to report the bullying. While this may be part of the reason young people who are suffering homophobic bullying do not report it, a 2003 study about bullying in general found that only 51% of Year 5 pupils and 31% of Year 8 pupils would find it easy to speak to a teacher about bullying.[36] Evidence also suggests that it is not only young people who are suffering from homophobic bullying who feel they lack sympathetic peers. The British Psychological Society state that

"Friendship and social status have been another area where evidence suggests both a protective factor and a risk factor. Victims are often at greater 'social risk' as they lack supportive friends at schools and tend to be more rejected by their peers."[37]

Evidence we received does suggest that gay, lesbian and bisexual young people, and those perceived to be gay, lesbian or bisexual, may be more at risk of bullying. While determining the extent of bullying is difficult, due to lack of record keeping and problems with establishing a consistent definition, the Anti-Bullying Alliance states 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% of young people who have experienced general bullying)."[38]

28. Race, culture and religion can also lead to prejudice-driven bullying. Studies on racist bullying suggest that it is a problem for schools. The Children's Commissioner told us that a 1994 survey found 17.75% of primary school children and 9.2% of secondary school children had been on the receiving end of derogatory comments relating to their colour, and a 2001 study of the victims of bullying in Islington found that 29% of those who had been bullied had been racially insulted. Worryingly, separate research in 2001 found that when children from black and minority ethnic communities experience bullying it is twice as likely to be severe bullying.[39] A recent article in The Times Educational Supplement suggested that attacks on Muslim pupils have increased since the July 7 bombings, and reported on the assault of an 11-year-old student while she was praying at school.[40]

29. Schools have a duty to report racist incidents and to have an anti-racism policy. However, there are no corresponding duties for other types of bullying. Denys Robinson, Chair of Trustees, Educational Action Challenging Homophobia, told the Committee that "a lot of this problem that we have would be solved if the same practice that is followed on racist incidents, were applied to homophobic incidents.'"[41] However, Dr Shobha Das argued that the practice on racist bullying was not satisfactory. She said that schools are reluctant to report racist bullying and "feel that they are black-listed for reporting racist incidents".[42] The Minister for Schools stated that

"We recommend in our guidance that schools should report all incidents of bullying. We do not make it a requirement […] except in racist incidents, principally because of the burden that it places on schools but also because there are some real difficulties around definition and getting some consistency. We have some concerns around that in terms of the reporting of racist bullying: that some schools may be reluctant to report incidents because they do not want to get a reputation as a school for having a racist problem."[43]

30. Archbishop Vincent Nichols of the Catholic Education Service doubted that anti-bullying policies needed to deal specifically with different types of bullying:

"it is very, very important to have a clear, unambiguous policy put into practice about bullying. If you begin to pick out particular sections then the list of special policies is going to get very, very long […] from the teachers who have discussed these things, [the advice] is that a strong, coherent policy which addresses all bullying is the most effective way of dealing with this."[44]

Benet Middleton of the National Autistic Society suggested that different approaches for different types of bullying could lead to some types of bullying not being dealt with as robustly as others. He added that "in the guidance more emphasis is placed on the person with the disability than on dealing with the behaviour […] whereas with sexist and racist bullying it is a bit clearer that one should be addressing the bullying behaviour."[45]

31. Other witnesses felt that it was useful to have specific policies for prejudice-driven bullying. Shobha Das stated that "because of the lack of confidence of authorities in dealing in particular with prejudice-driven bullying I think we need to cast a special eye on that field."[46] Chris Gravell, Policy Officer, Advisory Centre for Education said that

"often, in anti-racist bullying policies one has a strong rights-based approach which is absolutely correct, but often one does not find that in the disability and special needs bullying code where it seems to be far more to do with protecting the victims and victims being trained in social skills so they do not get bullied."[47]

EACH suggests that, as with bullying that is related to SEN, action to tackle homophobic bullying can focus on the behaviour of the victim rather than the bully. They note that

"Teachers not infrequently respond in exasperation when confronted with a pupil who has been 'outed'—'Why can't you just keep your head down? Why do you have to keep drawing attention to yourself?'"[48]

32. This is not to suggest that working with victims is never beneficial. Some of the evidence that the Committee has received suggests that working with the victims of bullying on assertiveness or social skills can help them deal with bullying. Professor Smith told the Committee that "one important component of anti-bullying work is assertiveness training which helps everyone, but it could be potential victims, to know how to cope when they are provoked or attacked in some way."[49] However, we feel that work with the victims of bullying, if used, should only be part of an overall anti-bullying programme. The focus of any anti-bullying work should be tackling bullying behaviour and making it clear that such behaviour is not acceptable.

33. We are concerned by the evidence that the lack of consistency in recording bullying and the lack of information about the extent to which bullying occurs is a barrier to increasing the effectiveness of anti-bullying programmes. Deborah Duncan, Head teacher, Horbury School, when asked why schools do not record bullying, stated

"Of course, schools are very busy places and we have all sorts of pressures on us to do a variety of other things. Just last term we had to fill in the self-evaluation form; we had to restructure the entire staffing of the school. It is just another thing to do. But if you already have proper systems in place, it is not a difficult thing to do. I think that they do not do it just because they are not required to do it."[50]

We have, through the course of the inquiry, become convinced that a lack of accurate reliable data on bullying is one barrier to more effective anti-bullying work. We recommend that the Department introduces a requirement for schools to record all incidents of bullying along with information about the type of bullying incident.

34. We welcome the Minister's statement that

"whatever the setting, so whatever the ethos, whoever the external partner to a school might be, school might be, if they have got one, be it the Catholic Church or anybody else. We should not tolerate bullying in any from, we should not tolerate people not respecting the difference that people have and I think that applies to homophobic bullying, it applies to faith-based bullying, it applies to all forms of bullying in all settings."[51]

However, the evidence we have seen suggests this does not always happen in practice.

35. We are concerned that, particularly in relation to disability-related and homophobic bullying, attention is focused on the victim rather than the bullying. While there is undoubtedly good practice in some schools, in others teachers may feel they lack the knowledge or the ability to deal with these issues. The Committee welcomes the fact that the Department has commissioned research from Beatbullying and Stonewall about faith-based and homophobic bullying respectively and will be producing guidance for schools later in 2007. We believe the DfES should commission new research on SEN related bullying and its impact, leading to guidance for schools.

36. Although some witnesses have argued against targeting specific types of bullying this approach has led to a lack of clarity, consistency and confidence in dealing with certain types of bullying in some schools. Unless these specific kinds of bullying are explicitly included in anti-bullying policies, we believe there is a danger that they will not be adequately addressed. We urge the Department to ensure their guidance to schools makes clear that the focus of anti-bullying work should be on changing bullying behaviour rather than on how victims can change their own behaviour. As a result of the evidence we have taken, we believe the Department should require schools' anti-bullying policies to specifically mention disability-related, race-related, faith-based and homophobic bullying. Schools should ensure staff feel confident in dealing with prejudice-driven bullying and are consistent in their approach.


37. The Teachers' Support Network told us that harassment and relationships with people in the school environment, both other adults and pupils, were some of the main issues teachers contacted them about.[52] They also argued that the school environment could be more intense than other workplaces, making it harder for teachers to avoid their bullies.[53] When asked if they bullying of teachers was increasing, Steve Sinnott, Secretary General of the NUT told us that

"It [bullying] is being raised with the National Union of Teachers by teachers in ways that it was never raised before. […] we are creating an environment in which everybody feels under stress. Sometimes it is the stressed head teacher or head of department who takes particular action against a teacher who then feels that he or she has been bullied or harassed. Sometimes that has found an outlet in remarks that are made by a teacher in relation to another teacher that are entirely inappropriate."[54]

He also told us about students bullying teachers, saying that

"There are lots of examples of schools behaving entirely properly where a teacher has been assaulted or bullied by a youngster or group of youngsters. I can also give you examples of ways in which schools have behaved inappropriately in protecting teachers. […] I can give you example after example of that type of incident."[55]

38. The Teacher Support Network told us that the bullying of teachers could "have a negative effect on impact on the educational experience of young people as teachers lack the enthusiasm for their subject and their confidence to deliver their classes effectively. Prolonged periods of absence can disrupt much needed continuity in teaching."[56] School leaders should ensure that anti-bullying policies do not overlook the bullying of teachers, either by students or by other staff and that incidents of bullying that involve staff are dealt with appropriately.

Medium and Long-term effects of bullying

39. Surveys of young people consistently identify bullying as the issue that they are most concerned about. Barnardo's told us that

"In 2004, Barnardo's carried out consultations with young people asking them about the topic of emotional wellbeing and mental health. The key message that arose from the research was that young people saw bullying as the factor most harmful to their mental health."[57]

We are aware that bullying can, potentially, be very damaging to the children and young people involved. During the inquiry we wanted to explore what form this damage could take and how long the effects of bullying could last. Evidence on the effects of bullying suggested that it causes a number of problems ranging from general unhappiness, poor concentration, low-self esteem, psychosomatic symptoms and anxiety to depression, self-harm or suicide. The DfES said that there was evidence which showed "primary school children who were bullied were more likely to report disturbed sleep, bed-wetting, feeling sad, headaches and stomach aches."[58]

40. Written evidence from the DfES identifies targets in two of the five Every Child Matters outcomes that are related to bullying.[59] A joint target for the DWP and DfES in the 'stay safe' strand is a reduction in the percentage of 11-15-year-olds who say they have been bullied in the last 12 months. In the 'make a positive contribution' strand, the Home Office monitor the percentage of 10-19-year-olds who admit to a) bullying another pupil in the last 12 month and b) attacking, threatening or being rude due to skin colour, race or religion. A recent report on bullying states that this "categorisation is inevitably a simplification. Bullies and their victims do not sit in distinct categories in term of the adverse consequence they may experience. Bullying can affect children and young people's potential to achieve all the outcomes."[60]

41. According to Beatbullying, 36% of all truants blame bullying. Beatbullying also note that there is a link between truancy and youth crime; 23% of young offenders sentenced in court have truanted to a significant degree and 45% of young people who have committed an offence have also truanted.[61] The DfES states that truancy has a negative impact on future life chances[62] while the British Association of Psychologists notes that links between poor attainment and self-reported victimisation by peers have been found at primary and secondary level.[63]

42. Exclusion can also have a negative impact on the educational achievement and life chances of children and young people. We are concerned by the evidence that it is sometimes the victims of bullying who are excluded. Chris Gravell told the Committee that "schools unlawfully exclude children for so-called health and safety reasons if they are victims of bullying."[64] Both Chris Gravell and Shobha Das reported that there were cases where bullying had not been tackled by the schools until the victim had retaliated and they had then been excluded. Chris Gravell reported that about 5% of the exclusion cases ACE deal with related to pupils having been excluded because they had retaliated against bullying.

43. We support the right of schools to use exclusion as a disciplinary sanction. However, we are concerned to hear that some schools are excluding the victims of bullying on health and safety grounds. Violence in retaliation against bullying is unacceptable and schools are right to discipline the perpetrators of violence. However, we would expect previous bullying to be taken into account when deciding on appropriate disciplinary measures. We urge the Department to issue new guidance to local authorities and schools, as a matter of urgency, covering not only when exclusions should be used, but also when they must not be used, for example, to prevent the victims of bullying from attending school.

44. We have heard evidence that pupils felt aggrieved that some forms of punishment—exclusion and isolation were in fact no real punishment at all. We have already acknowledged that support and mentoring need to be available to the perpetrators of bullying—as part of 'rehabilitation' but we would strongly agree with the views of pupils that punishment should indeed be a punishment and a deterrent to other would-be bullies.

45. We recommend that punishment regimes are reviewed to incorporate where permissible 'pupil suggested' punishments i.e. litter picking and school clean ups. This will bring pupils to the heart of the process and they will feel that they have had a real influence in the measures to tackle the issue. It also means that the pupils will have determined what they feel is a 'fair punishment' for these matters.

46. The majority of the evidence we have seen suggests the effects of bullying can last into adulthood. Barnardo's notes that

"There is a great debate about the effect of resilience in young people for coping with bullying behaviour as it is widely understood that bullying affects some young people worse than others."[65]

The DfES suggest "bullying can continue to affect the individual long after the bullying has actually stopped. In some cases anxiety, insecurity, lack of trust and feelings of unhappiness persist long into adult life."[66] Parents are also concerned about the long-term effects of bullying, with a Parentline survey finding 97.6% of parents believe that bullying had long term effects.[67]

47. While bullying can have a lasting effect on the attainment and well-being of victims, during the inquiry we became increasingly concerned about the effect of bullying on the bullies themselves. The DfES told us:

"bullying behaviour learnt as a child can continue into adult life, particularly if such behaviour was not challenged during childhood or was an everyday part of the child's upbringing […] Adults who bullied other children during childhood can behave similarly towards other adults and children, particularly those in their immediate circle […] Aggressive bullying behaviour has also been linked to anti- and asocial behaviour in adults. Some adults who were bullied during childhood can find it difficult to form functioning adult relationship. Others might see violence and aggressive behaviour as an acceptable part of adult life."[68]

48. Beatbullying suggests that there may be long-term effects on children who bully but caution that there is a lack of research in this area.[69] However, Professor Smith referred to UK and Norwegian studies that found a link between bullying and criminal convictions later in life. Written evidence from the British Psychological Society notes

"Not many studies have appeared on the effects of bullying on those who bully. A large study in Finland […] found that children who bully are at an increased risk of depression, to the same extent as victims of bullying […] Children who bully may be at a high risk of criminal convictions in later life: 25% of adults who had been identified by peers at age 8 as 'bullies' had criminal records, as opposed to 5% who had not been identified as such."[70]

Beatbullying stated that

"in our experience approximately 5-7% of young bullies are so unreachable—so out of control that any programme of prevention is doomed to failure. Many have significant mental health issues and anger management issues which need to be dealt with by mental health professionals and not in schools or the community."[71]

49. We are concerned that there may be significant problems for individuals and the community generally if bullying behaviour which occurs in childhood is not tackled and changed. There also appears to be a lack of research on how bullying affects bullies. We recommend the Department commissions research into the long-term effect of bullying on those who are bullied and those who bully and on effective ways of challenging bullying behaviour. Advice for schools, including on what services are available for those bullies whose behaviour cannot be dealt with in a school setting, should be made available. We urge local authorities to ensure schools have clear guidance on what services are available to work with this type of persistent bully and to ensure that young people in their area who are excluded as a result of bullying have continuing access to the support necessary to change their behaviour.

6   Q 233 Back

7   Education and Inspections Act 2006, section 89. Back

8   Ev 90 Back

9   Ev 150 Back

10   Ibid para 2.3 Back

11   Q 3 Back

12   Ev 186 Back

13   Ev 193 Back

14   Q 154 Back

15   Q 151 Back

16   Q 219 Back

17   Ofsted, Bullying: Effective action in secondary schools, 2003, para 36. Back

18   Q 219 Back

19   Ev 172 Back

20   Ev 193 Back

21   Ev 90 Back

22   Office of the Children's Commissioner, Bullying in Schools in England: A Review of the Current Complaints procedure and a Discussion of Options for Change, November 2006, p 2. Back

23   Q 158 Back

24   Written evidence from Michele Elliot [not printed] Back

25   Ev 90 Back

26   Q 173 Back

27   Ev 90 Back

28   Ev 60 Back

29   Ev 205 Back

30   Q 232 Back

31   Ev 90 Back

32   Q 216 Back

33   Q 127 Back

34   Ev 136 Back

35   Ev 29 Back

36   Oliver, C and Candappa, M, Tackling bullying: listening to the views of children and young people, 2003. Back

37   Ev 150 Back

38   Ev 60 Back

39   Ev 193 Back

40   The Times Educational Supplement,10 November 2006, p 5. Back

41   Q 21 Back

42   Q 152 Back

43   Q 219 Back

44   Q 650, 11 December 2006, Citizenship Education Back

45   Q 131 Back

46   Q 132 Back

47   Q 132 Back

48   Ev 1 Back

49   Q 216 Back

50   Q 56 Back

51   Q 228 Back

52   Ev 233 Back

53   Ibid, para 26 Back

54   Q 208 Back

55   Q 210 Back

56   Ev 233 Back

57   Ev 24 Back

58   Ev 90 Back

59   The five Every Child Matters outcomes are: Be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic well being. Back

60   Office of the Children's Commissioner Bullying Today: A Report by the Office of the Children's Commissioner, with Recommendations and Links to Practitioner Tools, 2006, para 4.12. Back

61   Ev 205 Back

62   Ev 90 Back

63   Ev 150 Back

64   Q135 Back

65   Ev 24 Back

66   Ev 90 Back

67   Ev 121 Back

68   Ev 90 Back

69   Ev 205 Back

70   Ev 150 Back

71   Ev 205 Back

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2007
Prepared 27 March 2007