‘More than half of pupils experience bullying at school’

Pupils who are bullied tend to be left feeling anxious, according to new research Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

Bullying has a “shocking” impact on young people’s mental health – and it happens to more than half of pupils during their time at school, new research suggests.

Of the 57% of young people who say they have been bullied at school, 78% have been left feeling anxious as a result of the experience and more than half (56%) have not been able to sleep at night.

The figures were released ahead of the start of the new school year by anti-bullying charity The Diana Award, which is supported by the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex and was set up in memory of their mother.

The survey, which polled more than 1,000 11 to 16-year-olds, also suggests that 40% of young people are worried about going back to school because of bullying, while only 23% think their school is good at tackling the issue.

However, not all bullying takes place in school, and two in five young people (40%) said they have been targeted via social media.

Nearly a fifth (17%) of bullied children say they have been made to feel suicidal.

Of those who have been picked on, 54% have avoided social events because of it, 35% have skipped school and 20% have either changed schools completely or started home school.

The research shows bullying is “widespread” and “has a shocking impact on young people’s mental health”, according to a statement from the charity.

Alex Holmes, deputy CEO of the Diana Award, said that the school environment should be “safe and free from harmful bullying”.

The charity is running a #Back2School campaign to support worried children returning to school.