Omnibus Surveys show difference in thinking about bullying

The Department for Education has recently published three separate reports about the views of parent and carerspupilsteachers 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.

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. 

  • 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.


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.

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.