The number of young children being bullied in school time has fallen by 30,000 according to a new Government report.

Year 9 and 10 children were interviewed by a body set up by the Department of Education and results have shown a huge downturn in violence, robbery and what could be termed ‘traditional’ forms of bullying.

Name-calling is still top of the list of abuse but cyberbullying has become the new threat to young people’s happiness and emotional welfare, as it is proving harder to police and stamp out.

The landmark study, involving more than 10,000 secondary school pupils, showed that 30,000 fewer children in England now faced the fear of bullying compared to 2005 and what was historically the biggest problem – robbery between pupils – has halved with just 1% of children reported being robbed last year.

The new figures come as part of the government’s continued drive to deliver a better education for every child – and make sure teachers have the tools they need to tackle bullying and violence in schools.

A range of tough new powers have been introduced since 2010 to enable heads and teachers to retake control of their classrooms. On top of this, the government has pledged to train every teacher in not just how to tackle serious behaviour issues, but how to deal with low-level disruption that stops children from learning properly.

The message coming out of the study, which coincided with the launch of Anti-Bullying Week 2015, was that teaching staff were now better equipped to keep a grip on issues which arose in school but they have had to work harder to implement effective methods of reducing cyberbullying.

Strengthened measures already in use include stronger powers to search pupils – they potentially can’t cyber bully if they have no device to work from, can they? Removing the requirement to give parents 24 hours’ written notice of after-school detentions and clarifying teachers’ power to use reasonable force to control unruly pupils have also been enforced.

Teachers also now have greater powers to tackle cyberbullying by searching for and deleting inappropriate images on mobile phones and tablets. In addition, £3.3 million is being made available this year to charitable organisations to help tackle bullying and provide support for those who are bullied. This is on top of the £4 million provided in 2013 to 2015.

Sarah Carlick, founder and director of The Athena Programme, which was set up to help safeguard children young people and adults at risk, says of the report:

“We are concerned that we are having to deal with a new form of cyberbullying but we believe that better understanding of why issues arise in the first place, and clearer boundaries for those responsible for tackling bullying from a position of authority, will help quickly identify and stamp out repeat offenders and protect the innocent party.  We must also empower children and young people to keeping them selves safe on and off line”.

“We support the ongoing commitment shown by schools to providing a happy education and we will help teachers and charities end the scourge of bullying in our schools. We are determined to tackle any barriers which stop pupils wanting to come to school so that they achieve their full potential and leave with good memories”.

So far what schools and authority think tanks are doing seems to be working and thanks to recent reforms and cross sector efforts, bullying is plummeting and related school issues like truancy are on the decline.

While there is still more to do, today’s news confirms that strong discipline coupled with the right support allows children to flourish, and can transform lives by reducing bullying.

Interestingly a 2014 report by Stonewall also showed that homophobic bullying had fallen, with the number of secondary school teachers who say their pupils are often or very often the victim of homophobic bullying has almost halved since 2009. To further tackle this, the government has announced a £2 million fund for projects to address homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools.

The government has a package of measures to help schools tackle bullying and encourage good behaviour such as placing a greater focus through school inspections.

Leading behaviour expert Tom Bennett is to lead a review to ensure new teachers are fully trained in dealing with disruptive children and consider all of the challenges of managing behaviour in 21st-century schools, strengthening teachers’ powers to tackle bullying – and this will include the power to investigate allegations beyond the school gates, delete inappropriate images from phones and give out same-day detention.

Also on the horizon is a £2 million fund for projects to build schools’ knowledge and capacity to prevent and tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools and awarding around £1.3 million over 12 months from April 2015 to 3 anti-bullying organisations, including the Diana Award, Kidscape and the National Children’s Bureau, to extend their work supporting schools to combat bullying.

There is also the roll out of a £4 million fund to anti-bullying charities to help schools develop strategies to tackle bullying, including £1.5 million for the National Children’s Bureau consortium to focus on children and young people with special educational needs who are bullied

The key really seems to be ensuring that children are better educated about the dangers of the internet.  Children are now learning about internet safety as part of the new national curriculum, and Safer Internet Day is widely promoted each year.

Related documents:

Findings come from the second ‘Longitudinal study of young people in England’ (LSYPE2)

Further information has been obtained from the first ‘Longitudinal study of young people in England’ (LSYPE1), which followed 15,500 13-year-olds from 2004 to 2010.

Bullying evidence: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bullying-evidence-from-lsype2-wave-2

Schools’ statutory guide: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statutory-guidance-schools

Government press office: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/bullying-in-school-plummets

The Institute of Education is responsible for this study, which is also known as ‘Next Steps’. They are holding an eighth wave of interviews in 2015.

The numbers from the new study that are quoted above are estimates of how many fewer young people in the cohort would be victims of the kinds of bullying described. They are based on the percentage-point reduction in the rate of each type of bullying between LSYPE1 (2005) and LSYPE2 (2014) applied to the year 10 pupil population in 2014. See the

Figures over the 9 years: comparison estimates of bullying of year 10 pupils in England.