Bullying still a concern among pupils

Coun Scott Dickinson.
Coun Scott Dickinson.

Nearly one in three students say they have been affected by bullying, in a new survey.

More than 3,500 Year 8 and 10 pupils at 32 schools took part in Northumberland County Council’s health-related behaviour questionnaire (HRBQ).

Students answered 87 questions on five themes, such as drugs and alcohol, diet and exercise, internet safety and economic wellbeing.

Asked about their overall happiness, 71 per cent said they were happy.

The survey found 97 per cent of children in both age groups had never taken drugs; 85 per cent had not consumed alcohol in the previous seven days; and 82 per cent had never smoked a cigarette.

Bullying remains a key worry, with 29 per cent of pupils saying that they ‘sometimes’ felt afraid to go to school because of it.

Coun Scott Dickinson, chair of the health and wellbeing board, said: “It’s very important for the council’s health and social services to hear what young people have to say about important issues.

“We have engaged more than twice as many schools and students this time round and have collected a vast amount of data which we will need to analyse further and break down into meaningful insights.”

“But the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and an improvement on what was reported in 2013.

“We can clearly see that we have some very committed and conscientious secondary pupils in Northumberland, who understand the value of an education, feel appreciated and supported at school, and face challenges that are fairly typical among people in these age groups.”

Coun Dickinson added: “The survey has revealed some very positive attitudes among children in the two age groups - but there are clearly some areas for attention - and we will now look to use this data to see how services can be improved and resources targeted for the benefit of pupils.

“The survey is a long-term commitment to understand the needs and concerns of pupils in Northumberland. We intend to repeat the survey every two years and attract even more participants in 2017. My thanks go to every school and student who took part.”

A summary report of the Health Related Behaviour Questionnaire, completed in December 2015, can be viewed online at: committeedocs.northumberland.gov.uk/MeetingDocs/20572_M3994.pdf