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Misery of Brighton and Hove's bullied kids
A CHILD is forced to look for a new secondary school in Brighton and Hove more than once in every three school days because of bullying.
More than 130 secondary school pupils cited bullying as the reason they wanted to move to a new school in the city in the last two academic years.
Figures obtained by The Argus under Freedom of Information rules also show that the number of bullied children looking to change schools had increased by 20% in 2011/12 from the previous year.
In total there were 953 requests received from pupils looking to move schools in 2010/11 and 2011/12.
Other reasons cited for change of schools include children being unhappy at their current school, on religious grounds and because of families moving house.
Council officials say not all applications were successful, with some requests withdrawn because the reasons behind the initial application had been resolved.
Claude Knights, director of bullying charity Kidscape, said that victims of bullying often reacted with increased absenteeism from school, which often led to antisocial behaviour.
She also said children who moved to new schools were very vulnerable and needed support from their new school to ensure they did not become vulnerable to bullies at their new class as well.
She added: “Bullying is usually more drip-drip rather than a big bang but with enough drips the child drowns.
“In a school where there are strategies and policies in place, the required training in staff and an environment where it is safe and cool to tell, it might not reach the stage where a child would have to leave.”
Haydn Stride, headteacher at Longhill High School in Rottingdean, said his school had a pastoral system in place where vulnerable pupils are assessed for their needs before entering the school.
He said he was confident that the school had the correct systems in place to monitor and respond to bullying.
Councillor Sue Shanks, chair of the council’s children and young people committee, said: “Over the last six years there has been a 10% reduction in bullying in secondary schools as shown in local survey data.
“The council was awarded first place in the Stonewall educational equality index for work in partnership with schools and Allsorts youth project on homophobic bullying.”
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