Bullying in schools still a major problem, survey finds

MORE needs to be done to tackle bullying in schools, a survey of Island youngsters has revealed.

According to the survey, 125 children reported they had been hit while at school in the past month and around half of seven- to 18-year-olds who took part reported they had been called names at least once.

Children’s Commissioner Deborah McMillan released the results of her survey yesterday to mark one year since the publication of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry report.

More than 2,000 children and young people – some as young as three – took part in the survey to revealed the issues that most affected them.

And bullying was one of the major concerns impacting the Island’s young people.

One comment to the survey said that teachers at their school would respond to reports of bullying by telling the child ‘to just walk away’ and that teachers ‘don’t deal with everything seriously’.

A further 65 children aged three to seven mentioned bullying among the things they did not like about school or nursery.

More than a third of primary school children surveyed said they had been hit in the past month at school while those figures dropped to around a quarter for secondary school children.

As part of the consultation, questions were specifically tailored to three different age groups – three to seven, seven to 11 and 11 to 18. They included asking whether the children felt adults listened to children enough, what they liked and disliked about school and whether they felt safe at school.

Mrs McMillan, who was appointed as the Island’s first Children’s Commissioner in the wake of the inquiry report, said the survey identified eight core concerns that had to be addressed if children were to feel supported in Jersey.

These were:

*Preventing bullying

*Having more places for children to play

*Tackling poverty and providing more help for low income families

*Better access to healthcare

*A focus on children who are supported by children’s social care

*Supporting children with disabilities to live a full life with dignity and independence

*Tackling barriers to pupils’ learning

*Increase availability of mental health and wellbeing support

Mrs McMillan said: ‘There are lots of issues that children in Jersey have been raising with me. That is what we need to focus on – hearing what they are struggling with and doing what we can to tackle that.

‘I have seen and heard a lot of things that most people would find shocking. The biggest one for me was that nobody was talking openly about children growing up in poverty.

‘We need to be having an open and honest discussion about the issues. The greatest shock has been that no one was having those discussions.

‘I am here as the children’s champion and that is what I intend to be – to say the things that others perhaps don’t want to talk about.’

She added that the findings of her consultation would help shape plans to form the legal framework for the Children’s Commissioner’s role which are due to be lodged for debate by the States later this year.

Top Stories

More From The Jersey Evening Post

UK & International News