School bullying on the decline

BULLYING behaviour in East Sussex is continuing to fall according to the latest survey of the county’s secondary schools.

East Sussex County Council’s Education Support, Behaviour and Attendance Service conducted its annual survey with more than 8,300 young people during Anti-bullying Week in November last year.

It’s the fourth year of the survey as students from 21 secondary schools took part answering questions about their experiences of bullying behaviour in schools and the community.

The results have now been collated and the findings of the anonymous survey showed that there have been many improvements in young people’s perceptions and experiences of bullying behaviour over the last year.

There has been a continued reduction in reported levels of bullying behaviour amongst young people in school over the last four years from 29 per cent in 2008 to 23 per cent in 2011.

The majority of students (94 per cent) said they felt safe at school, a three per cent increase on the previous year, whilst 89 per cent of students reported they had a happy and caring school.

The survey showed that 67 percent of young people who said their school deal effectively with bullying behaviour.

Name calling is still the most common form of bullying, followed by indirect bullying, physical bullying, and cyberbullying (21 per cent).

However, female students were significantly more likely to report cyberbullying than their male counterparts across all year groups.

Although the overall level of reported cyberbullying incidents has decreased by one per cent on the previous year.

This year, unlike previous years, students were asked specifically about what they thought the motivation was behind the bullying behaviour.

The single most common reason mentioned by students as to why they were bullied was ‘their appearance’.

John Khan Anti-Bullying Coordinator for East Sussex said “Over the years schools have worked tirelessly to address all forms of bullying behaviour and this is reflected in the continuing reduction of bullying behaviour reported by young people.

However, the results show that more targeted work needs to be done in schools to create a climate in which difference and diversity are recognised, respected and celebrated.

Cllr Nick Bennett, the County Council’s Lead Member for Learning and School Effectiveness added, “I am very pleased that the vast majority of young people in East Sussex feel safe at school and it’s also good news that so many of our secondary schools took part.

“These annual surveys help us and schools to understand what issues young people are facing and how effective anti-bullying work is. It’s vitally important that all our young people feel confident and happy at school, free from fear of bullying.”