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No place for bullying: case studies

A wide range of research indicates that bullying is a problem for many young people, and that some of this takes place in schools. In the autumn term 2011 Ofsted carried out a survey, No place for bullying, to evaluate the effectiveness of the actions that schools take to create a positive school culture and to prevent and tackle bullying.

Research evidence also indicates that there are groups of learners who are bullied disproportionately. These include disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs, and pupils who are, or are perceived to be, homosexual. This aspect was considered in all of the survey visits and inspectors found that some pupils had been the targets of bullying for these apparent reasons. In particular, inspectors found that language that discriminated against both of these groups of pupils, and others, was common in many of the schools visited. Many pupils were well aware that such language was not acceptable, but it was often seen as ‘banter’. In contrast, staff were not always aware of the extent of its use, or themselves saw it as banter, so did not challenge it. Staff also indicated that they did not always feel confident to challenge or have the strategies to do so.

To extend this aspect of the survey, inspectors visited an additional four primary schools and five secondary schools that have specifically and successfully tackled prejudice-based attitudes and related bullying. These case studies are presented in this report extract.