BIG reports bullying is parents' biggest fear in children's transition to secondary school

Following a survey of 7,000 pupils, the Bullying Intervention Group (BIG) has put together a picture of how schools deal with bullying. According to the survey, bullying is the number one worry for parents and pupils when thinking about the transition to secondary school.

Asked to name anything that was worrying them about their child’s transition to secondary school, 80% of parents cited in-person bullying followed by performance at school 76% and making friends, 73%. Suffering bullying was also the top concern, for two thirds of children. 

Pupils in schools that are members of BIG were asked to rate how well their school deals with bullying. Schools described as 'not dealing with it very well at all' were compared with those that are dealing with it 'very well'. A picture emerged of the different ways schools go about preventing and reducing bullying.

Ineffective schools tended to rely excessively on assemblies or lessons and were doing far less of the other activities such as engaging pupils themselves in anti-bullying programmes. The successful schools on the other hand were using many strategies simultaneously including 'teaching people to respect others who are different' and resolving incidents so that they 'get it to stop' three times more often than their ineffective counterparts.

The harder more intractable cases starkly demonstrate the vital difference:  Effective schools were six times more likely to resolve the cases of those who were bullied 'a lot'. They also run peer support schemes and teach pupils how to stay safe online.

In the weaker schools, pupils were reluctant to report the bullying for it was likely to make things worse and their fears were justified. This happened to 51% of the pupils who were bullied ‘a lot’ who went so far as to report it.

BIG runs a national award scheme and offers schools support, advice, training and resources. The BIG Award for excellence in bullying intervention is a goal that hundreds of schools are working towards. Those who achieve this national award show innovative and thoughtful approaches that suit their school population and involve their students, staff and parents in a joint effort. Prospective parents should ask the schools they visit whether they are working towards the BIG Award. They could encourage schools to begin working towards a proven, successful way of reducing bullying and dealing with it successfully if it occurs.

Learn more about the BIG Award.