Bullying is so bad in some secondary schools that around one in four teachers would not want their own children to attend their own lessons, a new survey has revealed.
Members of staff say harassment in the country’s schools is being fuelled by a wider culture which increasingly ‘normalises’ mockery.
Just over half of teachers claim that bullying is a problem at their secondary, with 23 per cent admitting they would not send their son or daughter there as a result.
Twelve per cent of primary teachers would also protect their own children’s welfare by not enrolling them, with 22 per cent citing similar issues in their own schools.
Just over half of teachers claim that bullying is a problem at their secondary, with 23 per cent admitting they would not send their son or daughter there as a result
The findings were revealed in a poll of more than 1,000 primary and secondary teachers undertaken by the Times Educational Supplement and ITV’s This Morning.
More than half (53 per cent) of secondary teachers and 25 per cent of primary teachers said they knew of children who had been too scared to attend school due to bullying.
Over a fifth of all teachers (22 per cent) said the problem was on the increase.
Cyberbullying was seen as a particular problem, with 76 per cent saying that digital technology was making bullying worse.
One secondary teacher in the North East told the TES: ‘I would strongly urge anybody in my family or my friends not to send them to my school.’
Another teacher revealed how they eventually had to take their son out of an ‘outstanding’ secondary because of its failure to deal with bullying.
‘The bullying started in primary school – another allegedly ‘outstanding’ school,’ they said.
‘It was mainly name-calling but some of it was homophobic. It got to the point where he was being sick on the school bus.’
But those responding said that one of the major difficulties in tackling the issue was a growing wider culture of seeing ‘banter’ and mockery as entertainment.
Martin Davis, deputy head of Islwyn High School, near Blackwood, South Wales said: ‘Media attitudes to humour in most genres normalise banter, slapstick and mockery.
‘Inevitably parents and children are influenced by this bombardment and many can no longer distinguish the media world from the real world.’
And another secondary teacher who preferred not to be named said: ‘It’s become so ‘normal’ for children to insult each other, post indecent photos of themselves and threaten violence because it’s all entered mainstream media.
Cyberbullying was seen as a particular problem, with 76 per cent saying that digital technology was making bullying worse
‘It is like fighting a losing battle.’
An NSPCC spokeswoman said: ‘Bullying can happen anywhere – at school or online – and can have a devastating impact on a child.
‘Bullying was in the top three reasons young people contacted Childline last year, yet we know children might not tell anyone they are being targeted because they’re scared of the consequences, or believe it’s their fault.
At its worst, bullying has driven young people to self-harm and even suicide so it’s vital that parents and teachers know how to spot the signs of bullying and support those affected.’
A Department for Education spokesman said: ‘Bullying of any kind is unacceptable. Schools should be safe places where children are taught to tolerate and respect others.
‘To help support this, the government is investing more than £4million in anti-bullying projects. This includes the Diana Award to extend the peer-to-peer Anti-Bullying Ambassadors Programme to a further 4,000 young people.
‘We have also funded advice for schools on understanding, preventing and responding to cyberbullying, along with an online safety toolkit for use in PSHE lessons.’