COVID-19 has children dreading the return to school amidst concerns of increased bullying
Celebrities join forces with The Diana Award and Nationwide Building Society to host the first ever virtual ‘The Big Anti-Bullying Assembly’ on 28th September 2020
01 September 2020
Censuswide poll, commissioned by The Diana Award and Nationwide Building Society, reveals:
- One in three (33%) parents feel their child will struggle to integrate into social groups when they return to school after lockdown
- Half (51%) of young people who have previously been bullied have worried about going back to school after a holiday because of bullying, and over a third (34%) of all young people are more worried about returning to school after lockdown
- Almost half (45%) of parents said lockdown had impacted their child’s mental health and well-being
- Almost half (46%) of young people have been bullied at school at some point in their life, with over half (54%) saying it negatively affected their mental health and well-being, more than three quarters (78%) saying it caused them to them to feel anxious, almost half (44%) saying it affected their ability to sleep and night, 14% wanting to self-harm and 9% feeling suicidal
- Almost three quarters (67%) of young people have seen or heard bullying behaviour in their school in the last year.
As 10 million children head back to school, new research commissioned by youth charity The Diana Award and Nationwide Building Society reveals bullying remains of grave concern to both young people and parents. Lockdown has heightened anxiety with one in three parents (33%) feeling their child will struggle to integrate into social groups when they return to school. More than a third (34%) of young people also admit to being more worried than usual about the return to school because of lockdown.
The survey, which targeted 1,000 parents of 6-16-year olds and 1,000 young people aged 6-16, revealed that health and well-being is under increased threat with almost half (45%) of parents saying lockdown has negatively impacted their child. This is in addition to worrying statistics that reveal that notwithstanding Covid-19 and lockdown, 46% of young people have been bullied at some point and 67% having seen or heard bullying behaviour in their school in the last year. Those who have experienced bullying cited it caused anxiety (78%) and had a negative effect on their mental health (54%). Almost half (44%) said it affected their ability to sleep at night, 14% wanted to self-harm and 9% were made to feel suicidal. This is in addition to a significant 61% of parents who admitted to being bullied themselves when they were at school.
These statistics come in advance of The Diana Award’s first ever ‘The Big Anti-Bullying Assembly’ in partnership with Nationwide. A celebrity packed virtual event, which will be beamed into primary school classrooms and homes across the country on Monday 28th September 2020, as well as being made available to view on The Diana Award’s AntiBullyingPro YouTube channel. The assembly will bring together hundreds of thousands of children empowering them to tackle bullying with a host of celebrities including; Children’s TV presenters Mwaka “Mwaksy” Mudenda and Richie Driss alongside Peter Andre, Katie Leung, Twist & Pulse, Ade Adepitan, James McVey, Cel Spellman, Will Poulter, Hacker the Dog, as well as the famous voice of The X Factor’s Peter Dixon.
Viewers will enjoy a host of celebrity personal stories, messages and special performances as well as offering key information and guidance on how to handle bullying behaviour and the support available. Celebrities will join together and invite children and teachers alike to ‘put their hands up’ and pledge to put an end to bullying.
This campaign marks the commencement of a landmark three-year partnership in which Nationwide Building Society and The Diana Award will work together to train over 10,000 young people as Anti-Bullying Ambassadors in primary schools across the UK.
As Britain’s biggest building society, Nationwide is committed to investing in and improving communities across the UK. Nationwide hopes it can use its position as a mutual organisation owned by its members and one of the UK’s largest financial services providers to support The Diana Award’s anti-bullying campaign.
“Being called names was one thing and very hard to deal with as a kid but it turned to violence where the kids would tie me up to the fence at school and take turns throwing stones to see which one would hit me in the head. It was a really horrific time.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Bullying is something I faced when I first started singing songs and playing my guitar. I was definitely different. I was more interested in writing poems and songs about girls. To a lot of guys at my school, and other schools, I stuck out. I had long hair, I had big holes in my ears, I had my nose pierced, and I had really bad acne so I put makeup on my spots. I think for a lot of boys at my school I wasn’t really easy to understand and therefore I got picked on”
James McVey, The Vamps
“Returning to school after lockdown will be unprecedented for 10 million young people this September. It’s more important than ever to ensure school is safe and free from harmful bullying behaviour. Thanks to our landmark partnership with Nationwide Building Society we’re training 10,000 Anti-Bullying Ambassadors in primary schools across the UK over the next three years. 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.”
Alex Holmes, Deputy CEO of The Diana Award
“It is heart breaking to hear from children who have had their lives blighted by bullying. As a mutual organisation, we have a particular interest fostering greater mutual respect to build a better society where diversity and difference are celebrated. The Diana Award team have made some inspirational strides to put an end to bullying and we hope our support can mean that many more children can be protected.”
Sara Bennison, Nationwide Chief Product and Marketing Officer
To date, over 35,000 young people have been trained as Anti-Bullying Ambassadors in 4,000 schools throughout the UK and Ireland by The Diana Award. 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, has received hundreds of positive endorsements in Ofsted school inspection reports reducing bullying and increasing safety and wellbeing.