30% of Wigan parents unhappy with schools' reactions to bullying reports
Almost three in 10 Wigan parents of bullied children say their school did not deal with the issue well, a new survey suggests.
With figures showing tens of thousands of parents nationwide expressing similar fears, anti-bullying charities have warned bullying can “devastate lives.”
Ofsted asked 1,388 parents in Wigan if they agreed that their school had dealt with bullying quickly and effectively in the first half of the current academic year.
Of them, 461 said the question applied to them, of whom 28 per cent disagreed or strongly disagreed that the school had acted in this way. Half agreed with the statement, while the remaining 21 per cent said they did not know. In Wigan, six per cent of parents also said their child was not happy at their school, and five per cent said their child did not feel safe.
Anti-bullying charity Bullies Out estimates bullying affects half of all young people, but said that schools can help by dealing with incidents quickly and effectively.
More than 200,000 parents across England completed the survey, and 37 per cent said the question applied to them. Of them, 28 per cent said their children’s school had not quickly or effectively dealt with bullying.
Linda James, the founder of anti-bullying charity Bullies Out, said: “Bullying is an issue of strategic, as well as operational, importance. It is not ‘kids being kids’ or ‘part of growing up’.
“It can devastate lives and seriously affect a person’s academic, social, emotional and physical well-being.
“For a school to reduce bullying, the emphasis must be placed on creating a culture of acceptance, tolerance and respect.”
She added that bullying can cause feelings of self-doubt, depression and even suicide, making it vital children and parents have confidence in schools to deal with the problem.
The proportion of parents who felt schools had not dealt well with bullying varies greatly across England, from just 14 per cent in Leicester to 44 per cent in Tameside.
Kidscape, an organisation that helps children cope with bullying, said this “extremely varied” response is a result of an increasingly independent school system, with parents struggling to hold schools to account for not taking action.
Chief executive Lauren Seager-Smith said: “We are regularly in contact with children who do not feel safe in school, and parents who are frustrated by the lack of school action to address bullying.”
A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “Schools should be safe places where children are taught to respect each other and staff.
“The Government has sent a clear message to schools that bullying, whether it is in the playground or online, is unacceptable. It can have a devastating effect on individuals, harm their education and have serious and lasting consequences for their mental health.
“All schools are legally required to have a behaviour policy with measures to prevent all forms of bullying, and have the freedom to develop their own anti-bullying strategies and monitoring approaches to best suit their environment.”