Parents think heads don't do enough to tackle bullying - poll

Seven in ten parents believe headteachers aren’t doing enough to tackle bullying in schools, a new poll has revealed.

The Diana Award, a young people’s charity, has published the results of a survey of thousands of adults and children, and called for help to put an “anti-bullying ambassador” in every school.

The poll, by Survation and YouGov, found that 70 per cent of parents believe action by heads to stop bullying is falling short of what is needed.

But one headteachers’ organisation blamed government cuts for the limitations of schools’ responses to bullying.

“School staff are the first line of defence against bullying and the best way of making sure it doesn’t happen in the first place,” said Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT.

“Pupils thrive when they have a great environment to learn in. That environment is created by the skilled professionals employed by the school. Many of these professionals are having their hours cut because school budgets are at breaking point, and there’s no sign of any extra money coming from the Treasury, which is a disaster for young people who are feeling bullied at school.”

“We’re seeing the human price being paid by young people now being directly affected by the cuts to school budgets,” he added.

The Diana Award survey also revealed that 22 per cent of young people have moved schools because of bullying, and 46 per cent are worried about going back after the holidays because they fear being bullied.

Fifty-one per cent of pupils said they were afraid to put their hands up in class as a result of bullying, while 39 per cent their school grades had been affected and 38 per cent said it had had an impact on their attendance.

The survey results have been released to coincide with a campaign called #Back2School, which involves celebrities reliving their bullying experience to try to stamp out problems for current pupils.

The Diana Award wants to expand its network of anti-bullying ambassadors and put one in every school. To do this, the charity will seek to raise money to train more ambassadors through its #Back2School campaign.

“Young people spend 11,000 hours of their lives in full education. School should be safe and free from bullying,” said Alex Holmes, deputy chief executive of The Diana Award, said.

“We’re urging everyone to get behind our campaign by helping us to train anti-bullying ambassadors in every schools. We know this peer to peer approach works and these young ambassadors are already changing behaviours and shaping attitudes by sending a clear message that bullying isn’t acceptable.”