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Omnibus Surveys show difference in thinking about bullying

The Department for Education has recently published three separate reports about the views of parent and carers, pupils, teachers and post-16 institutions about a range of issues including bullying. These surveys have shown interesting results in relation to bullying which you can read below.

image of person writing

Parents and carers and pupils

Pages 63 - 78:


1,595 parents and carers and their pupils completed the questionnaire as part of Wave 2 of the survey. These responses were collected between 23rd November 2016 and 16th January 2017. The pupils were in years 7 - 13.

What did they find?

  • a third of pupils (33%) said they had been bullied monthly or more often compared to just 9% of parents/carers

  • over two-fifths (45%) of pupils said they had been bullied at least once or twice in the last year compared to 24% of parents/carers

  • Just under two-thirds of pupils (63%) said they had seen someone else being bullied at school in the past 12 months, with a third (33%) saying they saw

    another pupil being bullied monthly, or more often

  • Pupils and parents/carers were generally confident action would be taken if teachers were aware of ‘a boy touching a girl inappropriately and without

    permission’ (67% of pupils and 68% of parents/carers said definitely; and a further 21% of pupils and 18% of parents/carers said probably)

  • Fewer pupils and parents/carers felt teachers would take action if they were aware of ‘a boy saying something sexist to a girl’ (35% of pupils and 44% of parents/carers said definitely; and a further 40% of pupils and 34% of parents/carers said probably)

  • Pupils were then asked ‘In the past year how often, if at all, have you seen any pupil being bullied at school because of the following reasons?’ - the graph below shows the results. The most prominent groups were LGBT (17% at least monthly) and SEN/disability (16% at least monthly). Race, nationaility and ethnicity followed with 10% see it at least monthly. 

Graph to illustrate pupils responses
Caption: see page 68 -
  • There were worrying levels of girls saying they had experienced sexist or sexual bullying (see graph below) 13% had experienced another pupil saying something sexist or sexual at least once a month or more often and 15% saying it happened once or twice in the last year.
sexist or sexual bullying graph
Caption: page 71 -


Pages 34 - 38:


In total, 1,936 practising teachers from 1,629 schools in the maintained sector in England completed the survey. 54% were from primary and 46% were from secondary schools.

What did they find?

  • Only 28% of teachers said they never see bullying based on disability with 5% saying it happened sometimes or often and 64% saying it happened rarely

  • Only 30% of teachers said they never see bullying based on race or nationality with 50% saying it happened rarely, 15% sometimes and 2% often

  • 17% of teachers said sexist or sexual language was used sometimes and 2% often. Only 42% said it never happened.

  • Teachers felt least confident to deal with transphobic bullying with 84% being fairly or very confident.

teachers responses about type of bullying
Caption: page 34 -

Post-16 Institutions

Pages 48 - 50:


This report presents the findings of 476 interviews conducted with post-16 institutions in England. The majority of interviews took place with Headteachers/Principals, Assistant Heads/Principals, or Heads of post-16 education.

What did they find?

  • Reports of sexist or sexual language being used to degrade girls was by far the most common type of bullying. Almost two-thirds of institutions (64%) reported that such bullying had taken place at least once in the last 12 months; a fifth (21%) said this had taken place at least once a term.
  • Overall 80% of the student population attended an institution with reports of sexist or sexual language to degrade girls in the last 12 months, and over a third attended institutions reporting this happening at least once a term (36%).
  • Homophobic or biphobic bullying (42% said it had occured in the last 12 months) and bullying based on race or faith (37% occured said it had in the last 12 months) were the next common forms of bullying.
image of types of bullying in post16 institutions
Caption: page 49 -


06 Aug 2017