New poll says pupils are still afraid they might be bullied

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It is as old as school itself but, despite major reforms and developments in education, one topic, bullying, still appears to be an issue.

Despite a great deal being done in schools, research shows peer pressure to “conform” is still a problem.

All schools have bullying policies and Lancashire County Council actively promotes anti-bullying charters, which many schools sign.

However, a new poll of more than 1,600 eight to 16-year-olds in England found more than half worry about being seen as ‘different’ from others, and 40 per cent would hide or change aspects of themselves for fear of being bullied.

The data, published by the Anti-Bullying Alliance based at the National Children’s Bureau, shows that while the majority of children (96 per cent) think it is important to be yourself, of the two-fifths of children who would conceal something about themselves, 61 per cent said they would hide or change the way they look to avoid being bullied.

A staggering 64 per cent of children polled say they have come across someone being bullied because they were different – with children in primary school only marginally less likely to have done so than those in secondary school. Despite this, more than a third said that teachers didn’t do enough to educate them about what to do if bullying happened to them. The poll also found nearly half of children would keep quiet if someone else was being bullied, asthey didn’t want to be bullied themselves.

Schools across the county get involved Anti-Bullying Week, to send the message loud and clear that they are ‘All Different, All Equal’.

Martha Evans, co-ordinator of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, said: “This poll shows some children are worried about being themselves for fear of bullying. They worry about things that might make them ‘stand out’ including their appearance, disability, culture, or religion. It is so important we learn to celebrate the things that make us all different, and are clear that it is never OK to bully someone. Anti-Bullying Week is sending the message we are ‘All Different, All Equal’ and we provide a platform for children, teachers and parents to raise awareness of what to do if you are being bullied, or see it happening to someone else. “

Richard Pursey, CEO of SafeToNet, said:“Young people tell us that they are often worried about the additional pressures to be or look a certain way that the online world brings. SafeToNet is committed to helping create an environment where children who choose to hide aspects of their developing personality can use amazing online resources, without fear of bullying.”

Despite great strides, data shows that pupils are still afraid of the bullies:

• 40 per cent of children polled said they would hide aspects of themselves for fear of being bullied;

• 61 per cent of those who would hide aspects of themselves said they would hide or change the way they look, in order to avoid being bullied;

• 64 per cent of children polled have come across someone being bullied for being ‘different’ from others, yet more than a third (36 per cent) said they don’t learn enough in school about what to do if it happens to them;

• 41 per cent of children polled said they would keep quiet if they knew of or someone was being bullied;

• Anti-Bullying Week 2017 took the theme ‘All Different, All Equal’.