Bullying still a worry in Welsh schools

27 June 2014, 10:25 | Updated: 27 June 2014, 14:14

More and more pupils in local schools are suffering from bullying according to a new report by the education watchdog Estyn.

The report, Action on bullying found that even schools with good strategies of dealing with bullying still do not have focus groups with pupils who are at a higher risk of being bullied.

Very few schools in Wales consult with pupils who are gay, lesbian, transgender, those with a disability or those from a minority ethnic background.

Too many pupils suffer from bullying during their school lives, according to a report published today by Estyn. Education providers have a responsibility to tackle bullying in all forms under the Education Act 2002, and yet the ways in which schools deal with bullying varies widely.

Ann Keane, Chief Inspector, says:

'Too many pupils have their lives spoilt by bullying. Schools should be places where all pupils feel safe and able to learn. Bullying not only affects a child emotionally and psychologically but can result in poor attendance and underachievement. Our report outlines common weaknesses and provides schools with an anti-bullying checklist to use to see if they are on track.'

Estyn suggest schools should provide staff with training on how to identify, prevent and manage bullying so that they can eliminate this behaviour from our classrooms.

Inspectors found that not enough schools keep a specific record of bullying incidents and fail to identify patterns of behaviour that could inform help prevent bullying in schools.

In most secondary schools, the rise in cyberbullying is a concern and schools find its anonymous nature difficult to manage. 

Nevertheless, the majority of pupils know how to report bullying.

The best schools take a proactive approach to preventing bullying. Crickhowell High School in Powys has created a more tolerant environment by ensuring that issues of diversity and equality are explored in their curriculum.

The school also has a student support officer who provides counselling and advises staff on issues like cyberbullying.

Other schools also provide counselling services and use external agencies to support pupils who are victims of bullying.

Action on bullying, contains a series of recommendations for schools who should ensure that staff are trained and know how to deal with and record incidents of bullying to prevent more children experiencing bullying in the future.