Celebrities join in and go #Back2School to relive their bullying experience in support of returning students

3 September 2018

YouGov & Survation polls reveal:

  • 40% of young people bullied for their academic ability with over half (51%) afraid to put their hand up in class because of bullying*
  • Over a third (39%) say it’s affected their school grades and attendance (38%)*
  • Nearly a quarter (22%) of young people have changed school because of bullying*
  • Nearly half (46%) of young people worried about going back to school after the holidays because of bullying*
  • Nearly three quarters (70%) of parents say that head teachers aren’t doing enough to stop bullying happening in schools**

As 10 million children head back to school this week, new statistics released by The Diana Award reveal the shocking impact of bullying on young people’s academic education with over a third saying it’s affected their school grades and attendance. In addition, a new YouGov poll of adults shows how concerned parents are about bullying with 70% saying that head teachers are not doing enough to stop bullying in schools.

To mark the start of the school year a host of celebrities are reliving their experiences of being bullied at school for The Diana Award’s #Back2School Camaign. New names this year include: Millie Mackintosh, Nigel Owens, Cel Spelman, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Andrea McLean, Brian Whittaker and anti-bullying campaigner Lucy Alexander whose son Felix tragically took his life as a result of bullying. They join a host of other celebrities (listed at end of release) supporting the campaign.

The Diana Award runs the leading Anti-Bullying Campaign in the UK and Ireland giving young people, professionals and parents the skills, confidence and training to tackle all forms of bullying as Anti-Bullying Ambassadors.

To kick-off the #Back2School campaign, The Diana Award Anti-Bullying Campaign is encouraging the public to join in across social media channels by sharing their old school photo along with their advice for young people who are returning to school and if they choose to, text a donation to support the training of young Anti-Bullying Ambassadors in every school.

As well as reliving their personal experiences of being bullied, celebrities will give their advice and raise awareness of the need for Anti-Bullying Ambassadors in every school. The Diana Award is also providing #Back2School advice and support online at back2school.antibullyingpro.com and through their social media channels.

“I was at a boarding school and you’d share a room with six or eight other girls. And they played a prank on me… where they had tied a polo stick… and made a booby trap so that when I opened the door so that it would swing and hit me in the face and that was the joke… to see if they could break my nose.”
Mille Mackintosh

“One minute you’re having a good time with your friend… the next minute you’re being told ‘at least I’m not black’… or I’d be made fun of because of my gappy teeth… I hated smiling, I always hated smiling.”
Brian Whittaker

“My mum would say ‘enjoy school and I’ll see you tonight’ and I’d murmur under my breath ‘yeah I’ll see you tonight if I’m still alive’… you felt at times that if I ended my own life that that was the only way to get away from the pain of bullying.”
Nigel Owens

“The worst moment was the last day of school and they said to me ‘once today is finished, that’s it.. there’s no rules and we are going to kill you… we’re going to wait for you after school and we’re going to get you’ and so I hid.”
Andrea McLean

“The biggest thing for me was feeling very isolated [because of the bullying] because I was away from home… I didn’t want to be the one who was being a baby… but there’s only so much a person can deal with before you say enough is enough.”
Cel Spellman

“I come from a family of Russian and Polish immigrants… there was a lot of anti-semitism, lots of Holocaust jokes… there were quite a few kids that would tell me that the Holocaust didn’t happen. There was a joke that used to go around about the Yids ‘how many Yids can you fit a mini? 6 million but they’ve all got to be in the ashtray’… things like that.”
Tracy Ann-Oberman

“When I came back from Beijing, that’s when everything changed. They took the mick out of what I was wearing on the diving board, they would throw stuff at me at lunchtime, it became a thing that diving was becoming a burden.”
Tom Daley

“Some of the things that happened to me would definitely be described now as sexual harassment… If you were a girl and wore a white t-shirt, the girls would get a fire hose and spray you down so they could see your underwear.”
Cathy Newman

“I got racist abuse growing up…. It got me upset, I was angry… I’ve got young kids now- 9, 7 and 5- I don’t want to see them being bullied, but I also stress to them I don’t want to see you bullying anyone… I would of made a great Anti-Bullying Ambassador”
Rio Ferdinand

“I would be punched in the stomach whenever I was seen in the corridors, and told that I would to be ‘cut up and hidden under the floorboards”
James McVey, The Vamps

“Young people spend 11,000 hours of their lives in full education.  School should be safe and free from bullying.  We’re urging everyone to get behind our campaign by helping us to train Anti-Bullying Ambassadors in every schools. We know this peer to peer approach works and these young ambassadors are already changing behaviours and shaping attitudes by sending a clear message that bullying isn’t acceptable. Our vision with the help of the public/nation is to reach every single one of the 27,000 schools across the UK”
Alex Holmes, Deputy CEO of The Diana Award

To date, over 28,000 young people have been trained as Anti-Bullying Ambassadors in schools throughout the UK and Ireland. This network of young people develop and share best practices and have been trained to provide ongoing peer support to their cohort. A recent evaluation showed that 69% of young people believe that Anti-Bullying Ambassadors have decreased the amount of bullying taking place in their schools.

Celebrities supporting the campaign include:
Holly Branson, Tom Daley and husband Dustin Lance Black, Harnaam Kaur ‘Bearded Lady’, Reuben de Maid young case study,12 year boy who wears make up and was bullied and appeared on Ellen show, Channel 4 news presenter Cathy Newman, X-Factor’s Saarra Alto, Author, Mum and YouTuber Giovanna Fletcher, Trans-activist Paris Lees, YouTuber Mark Feris, Paul and Caroline Vodden whose son Ben Vodden killed himself because of school bullying, Iain Stewart Conservative MP homophobically bullied at school, Matthew Stadlen LBC presenter, Actor Christopher Eccleston and Kelly Hoppen MBE, Baroness Joanna Shields (Special Advisor to Theresa May on internet safety and former Minister for Internet Safety and Security), Loose Women’s Nadia Sawalha and her daughter Maddie. Rio Ferdinand, James McVey The Vamps, TV presenter and YouTuber Riyadh Khalaf, Hollywood Actor Will Poulter, Bars and Melody, YouTuber Marcus Butler, EastEnder’s Danny-boy Hatchard, Ashley Banjo, YouTuber’s Nikki and Sammy, Carrie Grant and daughter, Jack Binstead, Gemma Oaten, Layton Williams, Paul Potts.

* Survey undertaken by Survation. Total sample size for the children’s survey was 1,003 children aged 11-16yrs. Fieldwork was undertaken between August 7th and 13th 2018.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB children (aged 11-16).

** Survey undertaken by YouGov. Total sample size for the adult’s survey was 4,190 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 9th and 13th August 2018.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).


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