September 2, 2019

Bullying in UK Schools

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

Bullying in UK Schools is widespread, has a shocking impact on young people’s mental health and has them dreading their return to school, new research carried out for The Diana Award #back2school anti-bullying campaign reveals

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

Survation poll reveals:

  • Over half (57%) of young people have been bullied at some point in their school lives, with nearly three quarters (74%) having witnessed bullying behaviour in their schools
  • Over three quarters (78%) of young people who have been bullied at school have been made to feel anxious, over half (56%) have not been able to sleep at night and nearly a fifth (17%) have been made to feel suicidal
  • 2 in 5 (40%) young people who have been bullied avoid social media
  • 54% of children aged 11-16 who have been bullied have avoided social events, 35% have missed school and a fifth (20%) have changed schools or become home-schooled because of it
  • 40% of young people are worried about going back to school because of bullying and nearly a quarter (23%) think their school doesn’t tackle bullying well
  • More than 1 in 4 (36%) of parents are worried that their child has behaved in a bullying manner
  • To date, The Diana Award has trained over 33,000 Anti-Bullying Ambassadors in 3,800 schools throughout the UK

As 10 million children head back to school across the UK this week, new statistics released by youth charity The Diana Award reveal the shocking impact of bullying on young people’s mental health as over three quarters have been made to feel anxious and nearly a fifth have been made to feel suicidal.

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 Campaign in support of worried children returning to school.  New names who have filmed videos for the charity this year include: model and TV personality Penny Lancaster, TV presenter Peter Andre, professional boxer Lawrence Okolie, the inspiration behind the hit West End musical and soon to be film Everybody’s Talking About Jamie Jamie Campbell and Welsh Labour politician Chris Elmore MP. They join an impressive roster of celebrities, including Rio Ferdinand, Tom Daly, Dustin Lance Black, Will Poulter, Cathy Newman, James McVey, Kelly Hoppen, Millie Mackintosh, Andrea McLean, Giovanna Fletcher and Paris Lees, who have filmed videos for the campaign in the past – these videos can be viewed at

The Diana Award runs the leading Anti-Bullying Campaign in the UK and Ireland giving young people 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 on Monday 2nd September 2019 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.  The Diana Award offers their Anti-Bullying Ambassador training free of charge to schools across the UK. To sign up for training visit

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 offers #Back2School advice and support online at and through their social media channels.

The charity also provides ‘The Diana Award Crisis Messenger’, a support service in partnership with Crisis Text Line UK and Shout enabling young people to access free, confidential support via text anytime of the day or night by texting ‘DA’ TO 85258.

“Just talking about the bullying my hands are dripping. It is all encompassing, it’s like the darkest cloud and that’s all you’re focusing on. I just kind of stood there and took it and they said ‘now who looks pretty.”
Penny Lancaster

“I was an outcast, I stuck out like you wouldn’t believe. The term they used in Australia at the time was ‘wog’. I remember these kids tied me up to a fence and took turns throwing stones at me trying to see who was going to hit me in the head. They were laughing and calling me a ‘greasy wog’, it was horrific. I was really scared, I was petrified.”
Peter Andre

“I was always big for my age so it was the older boys who would do the name calling, the punching and the kicking. The walks home, getting chased, that’s where it was tough. I remember making myself sick so that I could leave school early and avoid having to see people on the way home. I remember being in the bathroom trying to pull the fat off, but obviously that wasn’t going to work.”
Lawrence Okolie

“There were points when I was 13/14 years old when I would have happily not have been here anymore. I googled taking my own life. I thought it would have been easier than dealing with the bullies.”
Chris Elmore MP

“PE in the changing room was very difficult, I used to try and get out of it as much as I could. Being gay, they’d say ‘look at him he’s perving on us!’. They’d even hide my clothes, it was awful. I couldn’t do anything, and it gave me severe anxiety”
Jamie Campbell

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

“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

“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

“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 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 harmful bullying behaviour. We’re urging everyone to get behind our campaign by helping us to train Anti-Bullying Ambassadors in every school. 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 government, schools and the public is to reach every single one of the 34,000 schools across the UK”.
Alex Holmes, Deputy CEO of The Diana Award

To date, over 33,000 young people have been trained as Anti-Bullying Ambassadors in 3,800 schools throughout the UK and Ireland. This network of young people develops and share best practices and have been trained to provide ongoing peer support to their cohort. The programme, which has backing from England’s Department for Education and Facebook, has received hundreds of positive endorsements in Ofsted school inspection reports reducing bullying and increasing safety and wellbeing.

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