Page content

Over One Fifth of P7 Children Physically Bullied at School

17 February 2010

More than one fifth (22 per cent) of P7 school children questioned in a major survey in Northern Ireland reported at the time that they had been physically bullied at school in the previous two months. Another 36 per cent reported being bullied in other ways. 

The findings from the Kids’ Life and Times Survey are being launched today at Ballymena Primary School.

The annual online survey, conducted by ARK at the University of Ulster and Queen’s University Belfast , gives all P7 children in Northern Ireland an opportunity to voice their opinions on issues that are important to them. 

3,657 P7 children from 268 primary schools across Northern Ireland took part in the 2009 survey.  

At today’s launch, children from Ballymena Primary School will discuss the findings from the 2009 survey and their own experience of completing the 2010 survey, which includes questions on their attitudes to the new transfer arrangements, children’s rights and bullying in school. Key findings from the 2009 Kids’ Life and Times Survey include:  22 per cent of P7 children said they had been physically bullied at school either a lot or a little in the previous two months of the survey being carried out and 36 per cent had been bullied in other ways, including name calling, being left out of games, or having nasty stories spread about them on purpose. 71 per cent knew there was someone in their school whose job was to deal with bullying. 89 per cent knew their school had rules on bullying.Girls are happier than boys at school. 84 per cent of girls and 73 per cent of boys said they were ‘mostly happy’ at school.Children who said they were mostly unhappy at school were seven times more likely to say they had been bullied in the last two months.Most children said they would turn to parents, family or friends if something went wrong in their lives. But 11 per cent of boys and 8 per cent of girls didn’t know who they would turn to, while 5 per cent of boys and 3 per cent of girls said they would turn to no-one.The vast majority of P7 children have mobile phones and access to the internet at home or at school. 28 per cent had internet access in their bedroom. 74 per cent of children have a TV in their bedroom and 39 per cent say they watch TV a lot. The favourite programme for boys was the Simpsons and for girls was Hannah Montana.The thing children were most fed up hearing about on TV was adverts, followed by swine flu and the recession.The person children admire most is their mum or their dad. Dr Katrina Lloyd from Queen’s University said: “While we often hear what the public and the media think about the issues affecting children, we rarely ask the children themselves about these things. The Kids’ Life and Times Survey gives children the opportunity to express their opinions and influence the policies and decisions that affect them. 

“The years spent at primary school are crucial to a child’s development - not only in terms of what they learn but also their general wellbeing. It is important that those involved in educating our children understand the extent to which they do or do not enjoy being at school and the pressures they are under.  

“This survey will help inform education policy makers in making decisions that affect thousands of school children across Northern Ireland.” 

Professor Gillian Robinson from the University of Ulster said: "This is the second Kids’ Life and Times survey and, so far, almost 7,000 children have been able to express their views on a range of issues that are important to them. By inviting respondents to suggest topics for the next year’s survey, we make sure that the issues covered are relevant to the lives of children in Northern Ireland today.

"As with all ARK surveys, the findings from the Kids’ Life and Times surveys are available on our website at along with a comic-style publication of results, specially designed for children."  

Harold Brownlow, Principal of Ballymena Primary School said: “Our P7’s have really enjoyed participating in this survey and the results have fed into our classes. This is an important transition time for children as they prepare to move on to second level education and this survey allows us to take their views and opinions into account.” 

The 2009 Kids’ Life and Times Survey was funded by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.